Tag Archives: love

His and Hers – A Love Story

This story was originally part of a series I wrote for another blog. Thought I would repost it due to a few questions I have been getting on smaller RC rigs. These little rigs are great to travel with and one of mine has almost frequent flyer mileage as I do.

I have had several Revos, Slashes, Rallys, and combinations, conversions, and off-shoots of these three. But by far the most fun I have had was building these two rigs with my wife.

A few weeks ago she showed an interest in an old buggy. Now she has always loved building and painting but driving was not so fun for her. I took an old slash and put a 23 turn motor in it and placed in training mode. In the privacy of our backyard track she learned to like it. Then last week for the Sweet 16 Rally we held here, we picked up a mini slash for non rc visitors to bash. She fell in love with the car when placed in training mode.

Her rig is stock and has the 12 turn Titan but soon to have a 23 turn HPI. That should give her longer run time and slower speeds

My rig has the Velenion brushless with Traxxas ESC, Traxxas and Integy aluminum, and run it on a Spektrum controller.

On neither rig am I overly concerned with having top shelf race parts, and use trickle down stuff from my prime rig…the Revo.

The Slash takes a lot of lip because of stability. My argument is that if you drive a car within its limits you don’t flip as much. We can go through several battery packs in an evening without ever being on our lids.

I’m enjoying our time in the yard with these rigs. I’m kind of anal about similar rigs running at the same time so its nice we are driving short course rigs at the same time.

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Tough Love-Babes in the Woods

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Lighting a fire in wet conditions, and not rescuing from the failures is tough…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(This goes along with our podcast- you can find it at http://www.Adventure IQ.com)

I have never been a fan of the notion everybody wins. When coaching youth roller hockey in San Antonio, I had one of the few, and eventually the only program that still kept score in the YMCA portfolio of sports programs.

I believe that you need to give kids a realistic view of their performance, but done so in a way that you leverage their strengths in whatever evaluation you are doing. I don’t believe in sugar coating the feedback, or playing with soft gloves. I also don’t believe in being harsh on them either.

In all my workshops, coaching endeavors, or training I do with kids, military leaders, new adults to the woods, etc is the same… I define the conditions and expectations, allow them to perform, allow them to self evaluate, and then provide guidance and feedback.

The other aspect is tough. I don’t rescue. I allow failure as long as safety is not compromised. Nothing is learned if I am constantly helping a participant to a point I am completing the task them.

Let’s discuss two situations where I have to guide a participant differently.

The first is a fire building scenario. The participant has a good grasp of the concept, understands how to use flint and steel, knows the type of tinder and has been highly successful in starting fires in the past. But this has all been in controlled conditions when it has been fair weather and dry materials.

Survival fires though are most often needed when conditions are wet and clammy. To really test skills, I have to put the participant into real conditions so they not only have the ability to start fires and get warm when most needed, but to have the confidence to do so.

Most fail in getting the fire started in these conditions. Many times, I fail. It is a difficult test to complete. But the real learning is through the debrief with the participant and allowing them to do it again.

Watching a participant unnecessarily expending energy to grab materials, using the wrong materials, standing by and watching the fire not start can be irritating and the desire to jump in can be powerful. But I have to let them fail. This is because the participant has acquired a level of mastery in controlled conditions that can lead to over-confidence which is just as dangerous as not having the skills at all. Here you have to have the tough love and not jump in, allow them to identify their own mistakes, and then provide guidance.

In the other situation, a participant who is new to GPS navigation. In this scenario, the participant is just learning, and allowing them to fail outright as they work to program coordinates, follow the gps to a target, and try to find the best path to get to the target can be overwhelming. In this case I will work closely with the participant and provide constant coaching and working them to success. I still use the same debrief techniques of “what, so what, now what” that I have discussed in the blog and podcast in the past.

Building a solid toolbox of skills is an on-going exercise. As a team, constantly work on our skills to either keep them sharp or learn new techniques. It is also what helps us in communicating with each other and building our team and our families to a tighter cohesive group.

I am not a fan of the everybody wins philosophy. In the back-country people die. There is no second place with mother nature, just a body bag.

Original article: http://waukeefamilyymca.blogspot.com/2011/09/everybody-plays-everybody-wins.html

For more information about us, please checkout http://www.AdventureIQ.com for other blogs, podcast, and videos.

Packing Your Puppies

20121213-133236.jpgTrigger loves to go hiking. In fact every pup I have had enjoys getting out to romp in the woods. with Trigger it seems to be so different though. With my other Brit, he got excited when I pulled out anything orange. He was a bird hunting machine. with Trigger though, when I get out my hiking or backpacking gear, he goes crazy and starts howling and talking to me…. Dad…Dad….DAD!!!

Trigger loves coming along. Doesn’t matter if it’s a Jeep trip, a day of geocaching, or a backpacking trip, he is ready to hop in the Jeep, running over everything and everything to claim his spot. dogs need no planning to adventure. I really want to be more like my dog at times.

Something we have learned is the importance for us as dog owners to plan well when heading out into the wilderness with our pups and to keep them safe. We need to remember to keep in mind and be knowledgeable of their physical boundaries. On a hike a few years ago with Scout on the William Pogue Trail in central Idaho, Scout was nearing heat exhaustion. This is an especially dangerous condition for pups. fortunately, we recognized the signs and I had the physical ability to hike him out on my back, while Melissa kept him cool with water in a few key areas of his belly, ears, and paws.20121213-133201.jpg

Trigger and I go nearly everywhere. as many of you know my adventures include aviation, off-roading, hiking, and other extreme…and a few not so extreme outdoor activities. we have learned over the years that not all places are dog savvy and not all people see our pups in the same way we see them. We have made it a habit to check on the dog regulations for the areas we will be adventuring. Even though they often allow people with little or no outdoor experience to jeopardize themselves and others, U.S. national parks do not allow dogs to share the trail. Bummer.

Socializing our pups has been a huge benefit. Taking them to stores that welcome pups always get my business. This has helped us as well as our dogs to become polite and we have learned some great control techniques. Remember to Maintain control of your dog at all times. Dogs are required to be on-leash on most public trails. Most require a leash to be 5-7 feet or less in length. We keep our 30 foot lead for certain situations, and we never …. NEVER use an extendable lead. It may be great for everyday romps around the neighborhood to give your dog more freedom, not only does it teach bad leash habits, its really not sturdy enough to live up to trail conditions.20121213-132735.jpg

Lessons in stores such as Lowe’s and Harbor Freight has taught us a leash isn’t enough. Keeping our pups calm as other people and pups pass by. Be aware of any situations will upset or aggravate your Companion. Ranger does not like tall men for example. we have picked up a sixth sense when any male over 5’10 approaches. Trigger Is still getting used to other dogs and sometimes makes a slight “grrrr” (not a growl) and we stay ready to redirect him.

Be prepared. Sites such as peteducation.com have a lot of great info about dogs, including many articles about first aid. Petco and the Red Cross offer first-aid classes, which I recommend highly, to offer you hands-on help. In addition, REI.com offers a selection of books that can help. One that I read from time to time is the Field Guide to Dog First Aid by Randy Acker, DVM.

20121213-133212.jpgI have a huge advantage that I have a wife who is a vet tech. All of my pups at one time or another has had some kind of boo-boo on a trip. We have learned how important it is to make sure one of us is ready to take care of our dogs no matter what circumstances come up. Melissa gave me an AGS Pet First Aid Kit, which also comes with a great book to help me with what to do on the trail. I recommend reading it allot. I keep the kit in Triggers saddle packs.

Speaking of doggie packs, be sure not to load your pup down. Also, train your pup, beginning first with nothing in the packs at first, and then over the series of weeks, lightly load the packs with items such as food, collapsible bowls, and the above mentioned first aid kit.

Trigger has not taken to boots yet, but I do inspect his paws often for cuts, stickers, etc. I do have him wear a protective chest vest that not only helps me see him, it protects his chest from brush. In addition, since it is in reflective orange, he is easily identified bu hunters. Finally, I put two turkey bells on him. One goes on his collar and the other on his backpack. The bells give me an idea where he is at when off leash.20121213-133220.jpg

20121213-133228.jpgEverything Trigger owns has his name, my name, contact info, and a statement “requires daily medication”. Even though he doesn’t require daily meds, Ranger does for seizures. If found, the finders will work faster to bet your pup back to you if they know they need meds.

20121213-133258.jpgI love adventuring with my pups. It requires a bit more planning and sometimes bypassing areas that are not dog friendly. But I can’t think of not adventuring with my buds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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RC Adventure

I haven’t talked about this area of our adventure life much. It is a seasonal thing for us, but it is something that at times has drawn us together as a family. That is probably true for so many of our adventure activities, that desire to draw us all together. This can be a challenge since my bride shows up as a 1-1-1 on the behavioral scale of her Emergenetics diagnostic. This means that when presented with a new idea, she can have Spock like reactions and I really don’t know if she is disinterested or her heart has truly stopped. I also have to wonder about her acceptance of the idea of if she is just pondering.

A few years ago when I got super excited about rc cars not only did I feel compelled to allow my life to revolve around the new interest, I built an rc track in our back yard. Not just a section, but the entire yard. I then went about placing plants and flowers to offset the curves and jumps. Then I built a tabletop track in our garage….just because that’s how I roll….

The indoor teack has since been dismantled and the wood has been transformed into a workbench, tre outdoor track is seldom used and is quickly becoming a prayer path or something, and most of the cars we built to entertain guest sit idle.

Still, I love taking cars out with me when traveling or when out for a day/weekend trip in the Jeep. This is why I am in love with 1/16 scale off road rigs. I can place a car, assorted batteries, charger, and small tool kit and parts in a backpack. I have taken my 1/16 scale companion on commercial aircraft, in the back of the little Cessna, and on road trips to the coast for a weekend honeymoon. Whether alone, with the wife, with the kiddo, or all three, we can take a few rigs on a trip with minimal room.

I have had several Revos, Slashes, Rallys, and combinations, conversions, and off-shoots of these three. But by far the most fun I have had was building these two rigs with my wife. A few weeks ago she showed an interest in an old buggy.

Now she has always loved building and painting but driving was not so fun for her. Our building and painting together was great couple time and since she has a preference for structure, she was able to quickly learn thenins andnouts of rc repair.

I desperatly wanted her to learn how to drive and overcome her fear of crashing a car. I took an old slash and put a 23 turn motor in it and placed in training mode. In the privacy of our backyard track she learned to like it.

Each year we hold an event in the fall called Sweet 16. this is held when night approaches earlie in the evening and we can light up our backyard for an rc rally featuring 16 scale vehicles. Last year, for the Sweet 16 Rally, we picked up a mini slash for non rc visitors to bash. She fell in love with the car when placed in training mode.

Her rig came stock with the 12 turn Titan but soon replaced it with the slower 23 turn HPI. That gave her longer run time and slower speeds. this has proven to be effective in the Mini-Summit as well that goes camping with us.

I still like my speed and when speed is the game in a camp site or an empty hotel parking lot, I still pack my MERV. Mini Electtric ReVo is not at all stock. My rig has the Velenion brushless with Traxxas ESC, Traxxas and RPM parts where available, and run it on a Spektrum controller.

I have several Summits, Rallys, Revos, and Slashes, the last takes allot of lip due to stability. My argument is that if you drive a car within its limits you don’t flip as much. We can go through several bettery packs in an evening without ever being on our lids.

The rc cars are just another avenue for us to play. whether on our track, hiking behind the car on a trail, or playing in an empty parking lot of (with permission) an empty hotel meeting room, the cars have kept me out of mischief on the road.

This next year I hope we get into building scale rigs like the Axial SC series. Think scale models, complete with working winches, shovels, loadable gear, etc. these would be fun to build and drive….at scale speeds. I could build one to look just like my Jeep….or what I want my Jeep to be one day.

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Road Trip Tunes

Today's youth don't understand the relationship of the two...So how many of you did this at a point in life- had that special tape that you played endlessly on a road trip…okay, allow me to modernize…a cd….wait…a set of tunes on your mp3?  I admit to the mp3, but there is something really special about sifting through a box of old crap and find that special tape that you played so much you know EXACTLY the point it is going to drag or skip.

I love music. Road trip songs were an important part of my youth and a tradition I carry on today. When my family moved from Arizona to Texas in 1979 I listened to Bobby Vee the whole way. It was my Mom’s favorite…… 8-track. Yes, I even know where the songs break in between tracks 3 and 4. For my Dad it was Roger Whitiker, Neil Diamond, and Alabama. Dad and I are allot alike in that we have a variety of taste.

In 1994, I uprooted from Abilene, Texas and transferred as an instructor to the Air Base Ground Defense School at Ft Dix, New Jersey. Before Mapquest, Google Maps, and GPS it was just me and the Gin Blossoms finding our way both topographically and emotionally. I had just come out of an “interesting” four years that had been soured with a broken marriage, a breaking relationship, and a need to begin being the person I was meant to be and not what others expected me to be. 1500 plus miles of “New Miserable Experience” not only spoke to the present but reached back into my past. (Gin Blossoms also hail from Tempe.)

Poison’s “Flesh and Blood” or Motley Crue’s “Dr. Feel Good” would pump me up while flying nap of the earth during operations in Southwest Asia. I would blast it through my headphones as we skirted the sand in CH-53’s.

Rush always has and always will speak to me in different phases of life. Practically everything from the “Roll the Bones” reflects my life post Desert Storm and the humanitarian missions I would be involved in during both my military and post military career. When I was working through many of the distant thoughts I would carry with me, I would lay down some distance on the road with both Albums on CD.  I guess I should add the Counting Crow’s “August and Everything After” when I was deployed to Korea- right after Melissa and I met. Each word spoke volumes to me and I would fall asleep eachnight thinking of her and listening to that tape.

Currently I am threading a compilation of tunes from Creed, Tonic, Roger Clyne, The Refreshments, Foo Fighters, and Goo-Goo Dolls fill my ears. All these are on my iPod. Somehow it’s not the same as the old cassette tapes. Nothing gets stretched, worn, and it never skips. Only so much can be said for audio perfection…

Finding those old tapes and CDs brings back so many memories. Lost love, forgotten friends, goals I have strived for that mean nothing now. Words that touched my life then, and bring back the smiles and the scars of a man I used to be and who I have grown into today.

Repost- The Warrior is Back (2004)

Before I start I have to give a huge thumbs up to my iPad. I am on a steady path to making this my sole device. There are a few limitations to it…but for blogging, managing our social media, etc it is awesome. I still have to go into my laptop for podcasting and website updates, but I tend to carry it much less. I only wish I had this thing when I first started blogging. Now if I can teach my fingers to hit the space key instead of “b” and “n”.

We are such creatures of habit. Yesterday when I found my old blog, I realized I was drifting back into the trap I sprung us from several years ago. Maybe this is more of a reminder for me to continue to pursue the life our hearts so desperatly battled for.

In 2003 and through 2005, I was on a fast track. People where interested in my career. I was enrolled in a graduate program, given assignments at work to expand my horizons, placed with an image consultant who monitored every action I took, how I dressed, my hobbies, and what kind of vehicle I drove. I found myself either on the road each week or trapped in work for 12 to 18 hours a day. The only saving grace was that when I was home (rarely) I was allowed to work from an office in my house. Money was great….life was a drain.

During the project I took a highly controversial day off. Against the wishes of the project team, I took a personal day. Eight years later I’m sure nobody voluntarily recalls the event, the project went fine and within six months of execution they moved on to a different model anyway, and I have a great memory of a day with my daughter. You do the math….

The Warrior is Back (2004)
To be checked out. Seems like I have been taken out of the battle more lately than I ever hoped to be. Odd thing is–its been situations that don’t normally bother me.

The past few weeks I’ve been developing new management training courses for my company. Day and night–this is all I have been focused on. All the things that seem to matter most have taken a back seat. Important things like prayer, spending time with my family, spending time with myself, calling to check on my band of brothers, oh yea– and time for God. So I carved out time for two important events today.

The first was an all out mountain bike assault combined with a little “geocaching”. Geocaching–heard of it? It a new sport–very similar to an exercise we used to do in the military when GPS units became part of our map and compass training. It a sport where you use your GPS device and find hidden caches. In the caches is usually a log book and some kind of memorabilia. Today I signed my name to the log book and took a finger puppet as a prize for my effort. In return I left an old Susan B. Anthony dollar.

The second item on today’s agenda was to take my 3-year old out to play. Putt-putt was scheduled but the sign that said “year round” didn’t include Mondays and Tuesdays as part of that year. So we sacrificed and found ourselves at the playground in the nearest McDonald’s. So after 40 minutes of stairs, slides, smiles, and sticky seats we headed back to the house. She worn out from the play- me worn out from the Happy meal I picked at in addition to my “Number 1- Super-sized”.

My realization is this. We work hard- but we also have to play hard. And in the end–getting a cool toy in the bottom of a burger bag or in a sealed bucket in the middle of the woods is an extra bonus. The real prize is the time we spend with those we love.

I have no regrets for taking the time off and I think its time to do that again. A few weeks ago I became very concerned in a meeting I was going to die. I was so focused on that one thought, I barely remember the meeting. I am currently on another demanding project that is robbing me of time with family. I need to reconnect with my crew at home. I do not want to leave this earth doing fantastic things….and yet never taking my daughter to the Boise Zoo. My mission next week is to do just that. We have to have missions in life that make a difference.

Abby and I are incredibly close. Part of that is the emphasis we place on time together. In addition to Daddy/Daughter dates, we have been doing weekend breakfast together since she was six-months old. Again….do the math. Figue out the 1×1 time we have had together.

Taking off next Monday to take my kiddo to the zoo….and Friday to do lunch with the wife. These are the things worth fighting for. The Warrior is back…….again.

Empty Crate

Best bird dog in the world was also a trusted friend and best pal.

This is one of the hardest blogs I have done. I do it for my own healing and as a tribute to my best pal. It is really part of a note I had sent out to several friends who where trying to understand my pain.

Last June my best pal, Scout, my bird dog jumped from my Jeep and was caught under the back wheel. Moments later he died in my arms.

I deal with this pain everyday and have not come to terms with his death. To a degree I know I suffer the symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I feel my new pup, Trigger understands this pain and often tries to comfort me.

Below is the email I sent to friends and family who were grasping at straws to help me at one of my lowest points. Most of the people on this list were supporters of the work we do in Adventure IQ to bring free survival and back country training for kids at Scooter’s Youth Hunting Camp.

Hello Everyone- checking in with you. I wanted to shoot out a quick note to help everyone understand where I am right now. Some of you will understand. If you are not a “dog person” you won’t get it- just understand that I am and try to put yourself where I am right now…

Thank you for the prayers, well wishes, emails, and phone calls. I really do appreciate each one.

To understand the story of Scout- you first have to understand the story of me. He wasn’t just a dog- he was my best pal. This story includes my own introverted personality, the trials and tribulations at the time to get we decided on a dog for me, my love of the outdoors, and time I was spending alone. If you are not into long stories- hit the delete button now.

My life is more complicated than what is seen on the outside. I am often described by words such as outgoing and confident. I am a poser in this regard. What you see when I stand up in front of others and present is something I have to gear up for.  At the end of a presentation I am completely exhausted. To be in front of total strangers is difficult for me. I enjoy it – but it is not something that comes natural. Unfortunately, fostering relationships has become easier for me with tools such as Twitter and Facebook.  In those places I have been able to come out of my shell a little quicker.

I had to learn to overcome my uneasiness of presenting early in my military career. In 1988 I was selected as the first Airman to teach at the Ground Combat Tactics course. I was working with all NCO’s (Non-Commissioned Officers) teaching special tactics, survival, and other courses to both US and allied soldiers. This led to being one of twelve Air Force members being selected as Instructors for the joint Army / Air Force team where I really honed my survival skills- but not necessarily my outgoing skills.

I am passionate about the things I teach. Ironically I teach a 16-hour workshop on presentation skills to senior sales staff members at work. Overcoming this for work or for teaching others things I love (survival, scuba, etc) is something I have grown accustomed to. This has had dire consequences when making new friendships in a new area extremely difficult.

For those I have shared long conversations with, reach out to you when I am in need, spend great deals of time with- I am truly thankful for your friendship, for all others- please forgive me. I am not in anyway trying to be unfriendly or push you away. I cherish you as well, and I wish I were more outgoing with you. Deep down I am extremely shy and this tends to come out more with some people or more specifically in some settings. Scooter’s day allows me to share something I am passionate about. It is also incredibly intimidating for me. Scott pumps me up as the “survival guy”, which although I blush- I have been trained and have used the skills in real situations. At the same time I am around some fascinating people that have killed large game, have their name and trophies in record books, and bring home a freezer full of meat each season. I hunt rabbits and quail. Something I do on my own.

In the fall of 2006 we had received some terribly disturbing news in our family. I won’t go into detail but it sent me into the deepest depression I have ever known. I was to a point of being catatonic at times. I had lost nearly 30 pounds, was sleeping 10-20 hours per week, and was barely functioning. I was so exhausted that Melissa would drive me to work and I would sleep in the back seat until we got there. If the downward spiral had continued- it would have only ended in pain for everyone around me.

One morning we were behind a pick-up that had the name of a local breeder advertising French Brittany hunting dogs. For the first time in months I had an emotional reaction. After talking to the breeder and deciding that a Brit would be perfect for me- I had something to look forward to that did not have “tragedy” tagged to it. It also gave me a companion to be in the woods with- and not hang out alone.

I have yet to make the emotional bonds with other guys since I let Texas in 2005. There I had a small but strong network of friends and a community that we had built together. Most people don’t realize that our move to Idaho was in pursuit of a dream I had since I was six. After other failed attempts at transfers, jobs, etc in the area- I threw it all in- sold what we could and moved here- without house to move into, a small gamble on a job, and without friends. Introverted guys don’t do well in these conditions. Scout was that emotional bonding I was looking for. We had guy time. We hunted birds, explored trails, played on the ATV, even watched hockey together.

Losing him has left a huge hole in my heart- one beyond just losing a dog. With Scout I didn’t have to be someone I wasn’t. I was at peace- he was my sanctuary.

I have no words to describe the pain and loss I have right now. Scout was my sanity, my confidant, my buddy. I wish I had him back and miss him deeply.

Through my pain, organizations such as NBRAN helped me cope and eventually brought a wonderful puppy into my life. Trigger is very much “Daddy’s Dog” and we spend as much time as we can together. I have also become a user and evangelist for safety systems in vehicles including retention netting and seat belts for pups. In addition Trigger has his own blog, which allows me a chance to view the world through the eyes of a rescue pup.(randombarking.com)

The lives of Trigger and Scout are so different. Where Scout was a bred bird dog, selected specifically for me, and a high prey drive-  we enjoyed hours in the field chasing upland game, Trigger was abandoned because he couldn’t hunt, steals my coffee and is just content to hang out.

Trigger doing what he does best...loving on me

I love both dogs deeply and continue to work through the painful loss. I often wonder if time will heal. Right now- I’m not sure I want it to.