Snow and REI

It’s been a busy weekend.

Thursday the office and Keith’s school were closed due to “inclimate weather” but by afternoon the snow had stopped and the roads were clear again so the two of us took off for the REI store in Northview.  I had some shoes that were defective that I needed to take back and we wanted to see what gear they had.  In particular we wanted to know if they rented backpacks and other gear for an upcoming Pathfinder backpack trip our club is planning for the spring.  I got a new pair of shoes and we looked at all the cool gear that they had.  REI has to be one of my favorite stores.  In the back of the store they had a clearance section.  In the boxed of reduced items we found paniers!  Ah what a find.  I know there are some better paniers, but they are also at a “better” price.  We got one complete set of panniers (a pair for the front and a pair for the back of my bike) for less money that we would have paid for just one pair of the brand I really wanted.  They will work great for now, and we can upgrade another year.

We are looking at having Doug Fattic build us some bicycles – not from scratch.  We will work with him to buy frames and add the componets we want.  I am really interested in the Surley Long Haul Trucker.  It’s a sturdy frame, made to the right dimensions.  One of the things that many not-so-serious frames do is make the chain stays too short.  (The chain stay is the part of the bike from the pedals to the back wheel hub.)  When that happens, it’s too easy for your heals to hit the back set of paniers.  The Long Haul Trucker has this problem solved and is well recommended for the price. We’ll have to see how the budget works out.

This weekend Keith and I spent at Camp Au Sable for an area Pathfinder campout weekend.  It was a great weekend.  We got just enough snow to make it fun.  Earlier in the week all the snow had melted off and turned ice, but a last minute snow storm dropped 3-5 inches and make for a great weekend.  We “camped” in the Cedar Lodge,” so we didn’t have it too rough.  A friend (Jason Whittaker) and I went out about 11:30 at night and took some night pictures you can see here and here.  It was fun to try that out!  I also had fun with another image.  I’ll just say that things are not always the way they appear.  The bad part is that my camera bit the dust.  It had recieved some accidental water damage last summer and was showing signs of problems.  I’ve got a new body ordered that should be here by Thursday, so I’ll be back in business.  Forturnately insurance covered most of the cost.