Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Summer Vacation Part II - Lake Shasta (cont.)

Other than camp and eat near-gourmet quality food (if I do say so myself) while at Lake Shasta, what else did we do? For each of the two full days there, we planned something different.

On our first full day in the Shasta area, we decided to visit Lake Shasta Caverns. After a brief boat ride across the Lake, and a shuttle ride up a twisting and turning path, we all delved into the natural caverns discovered above the McCloud arm of the lake.

The caverns were a good twenty degrees cooler than the outside temperature, which was quite welcome. The caves had some pretty amazing formations, which don't show up to well in the photos I took due to a distinct lack of good lighting. In total, we made out way up, down, and around 695 steps on our round trip explorations of the caverns.

No children were harmed in the taking of this picture:

The second full day found us traveling a bit North and then a bit east, to hike up and see the Middle McCloud falls.

The middle falls are around 100 ft. wide and 50 ft. tall, and quite breathtaking.

After snapping a few pictures, we made our way down to the Lower McCloud falls, and tempted fate by changing into bathing suits and braving the near pure snow-melt. I didn't have a thermometer with me, but I'd estimate the water temperature to be in the 40s - much colder than any ocean water I surf during the winter here in San Diego (with a full suit). The water was so cold that your feet felt a bit numb after a few minutes in the water. However, the weather was so beautiful that we braved the chilly temperatures and had a good time.

The next day we said our farewells to Lake Shasta, broke camp early in the morning, and continued on our journey heading further North.

(To be continued!)

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Summer Vacation Part I - Lake Shasta

Prior to this summer, our family had not driven farther than the distance from Oceanside to San Mateo, to visit my brother and his family up in the bay area. It also has been two years since our last summer vacation (camping at South Carlsbad State Beach). So, this summer we planned a long road trip from Oceanside up to Seattle , stopping at points in between.

The first leg of our journey found we five hardy travelers making our way up to Lake Shasta. From Oceanside, that is approximately a 10.5 hour trip. The kids handled it well, and we only stopped once for breakfast at 9:00 AM, around 5 hours after we left the house. Yes, those of you who are handy with numbers will quickly deduce that we left the homestead at 4:00 AM. Doing this, I can avoid the traffic in LA and the kids will go back to sleep for a while.

The drive up I-5 went well, except for a closure in LA due to who knows what. We made it up to our camp site at Shasta Lake RV Resort and Campground by 2:30, and boy was it warm! I think it was in the mid 90s as we pulled in to our site. Thankfully, the tent sites there are almost all shaded, and very spacious. So long as you were not doing much physical, the temperature wasn't too bad. The picture to the right gives a decent overall view of the campsite.

The campground had hot showers, a swimming pool, and a nice little camp store that sold ice, beer, and other life or death items. The people who worked there were polite and friendly, and I wouldn't hesitate camping there again in the future. The RV sites looked a bit close together, however.

I cooked all meals using charcoal and my two dutch ovens. We ate well, cooking dinners of stew, cornbread, dump cake, tequila lime turkey breast, home made sourdough bread, apple crisp, etc. Breakfast was also cooked, featuring: bacon, eggs, potatoes, pancakes, etc. We kept lunches simple with PB&J sandwiches. Unfortunately, I was so busy cooking that I forgot to take pictures, except for the following from breakfast one morning.

So, what did we do for the three days we were there? That'll be the subject of my next entry...

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Torn Calf Muscle

About 4 weeks ago, the little league baseball season was wrapping up, and we held our end of the season team party at a park close by. Around 6:00 pm, after everyone had eaten their fill, we held a parents vs. kids whiffle ball game. No gloves, no helmets - just one whiffle ball and one big plastic orange bat.

After crushing the ball in my first at bat (batting opposite to try and even the odds a bit), I approached my second at bat with something resembling a smidgen of over confidence. Oh, how the proud are laid low!

I hit the pitch offered, and started down towards first. I am still unsure of the exactly what happened. All I do know is that it felt as if someone with a real baseball bat smashed my right calf muscle, and I gimped up immediately, barely making it to first on one leg, being put out at first.

I could barely walk for the next 24 hours, and things didn't start really improving for another 2 to 3 days. By the end of the week, I noticed my right foot was swollen, so I bit the bullet and made an appointment to see the doctor. After 15 minutes and a $30 co-pay, my doc cheerfully told me that I had described a text-book muscle tear, hitting the nail on the head with the "hit like a bat" description.

He massaged my calf seductively, and said that while he couldn't actually feel the tear (which was a good thing), it seemed to be fairly high up on the muscle (also a good thing). If the tear is lower, where there is less muscle to tear, then at times it is necessary to cast the lower leg. So, he said that like Woody Williams of the San Diego Padres (who tore his left calf muscle running the bases a few weeks before I did), I was on the "DL" for 4 - 6 weeks, and to try to take it easy.

Later that day I took my son to The Wave Waterpark, and stupidly tried to ride the Flow - rider wave machine, and tweaked the hell out of my calf again. Stupid me. After another 5 days of pain, it started getting better.

So here I am, roughly 4 weeks after the injury, and things are looking up. I went surfing last Thursday and today, with not too many issues. I'm taking it easy, while still trying to exercise it a bit to prevent too much muscle atrophy. Hopefully in another 2 weeks I'll be back to 100%.