Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Return of the trail run

On a whim we decided to strike out on a trail run late in the week, the idea actually devolved from plans of an overnight backpacking trip that became less practical as the impending weekend came into focus.

Here’s how this sort of thing plays out in our household…

It’s Friday evening and I have just jumped off of the lawn mower after getting a head start on the weekend chores and the sound of a beer cap hitting the deck is interupted by a verbalized stream of consciousness.

“Let’s go for a trail run tomorrow!!!”

Unaffected by my outburst, Ash thumbs through her cook book & without batting an eye responds with, “OK”.

She’s used to my last minute ideas and knows all too well the ridiculous things I ponder while in the “Zen” of grass cutting.

But where to run???

Ash was inclined to run the river, so James River Park was the destination of choice …

Another curious thing seems to happen when plans are made on Fridays.

Another bottle cap hit the deck as I made my standard proclamation that I wanted to be out running early…

Plans be dammed, and Friday nights forever to be the reason why, we crossed the emergency access bridge and headed down the trail at around 10:00am, certainly not the early birds who’s mission it was to get the worm…

Needless to say, by 11:00am it was getting hot, not unbearable, but a definite nod to the Virginia summer lying in wait.

As we bounded down the path we passed scores of folks out enjoying the well groomed trails of Buttermilk & North Bank under a blazing sky.

We would log 7 miles or so on the flowing single track with the hum of the Hangar 1 Vodka Blimp keeping time.

As a side note; it was the first real distance I had put on my ankle since the scope, it felt weird, a little sore, but no worse for the wear.

The "mysterious" Hangar 1 Vodka blimp hovering above 

Saturday, June 11, 2011

"Live Free or Die"

With “Pirates” I have intentionally avoided crossovers between professional exploits and personal adventures, but sometimes an experience is significant enough that it affects both aspects of one’s life.

I returned Friday from a road trip that would have me steal away at 3:00am Tuesday morning and travel 11 hours across 9 States to a small New England town in New Hampshire.

Just so everyone understands where I’m coming from, I’m a southern boy, born & bred, and up until this week Atlantic City New Jersey was as far up the coast as I had ever ventured, and I readily acknowledge no previous desire of traveling further north.

While categorizing the nature of the trip is somewhat difficult, I would describe the experience as a cross between a “business trip” and ”training opportunity” with a healthy dose of “customer appreciation” as our sales rep Ken and Senior Instructor Scott catered to our every need and went well beyond the call of duty.

Exeter New Hampshire is home to “Sig Sauer” who manufactures firearms for customers ranging from private citizens to Law Enforcement and elite military units.

The Company has grown exponentially in the last few years from 90 or so employees to over 400.

During our brief visit to Exeter and the Sig Sauer facility we would have the opportunity of touring the factory, meeting with the Vice President of the company, shooting prototype firearms that “don’t exist” and cannot be named here, and participating in some training at the Sig Sauer Academy.

In short, the company rolled out the red carpet for our merry band of travelers.

That being said, this post is not a sales’ pitch for Sig Sauer, but more of an “ode” to the hardnosed employees who work for the company and represent the greater population of New Hampshire whose state motto is “Live Free or Die”.

As we meandered through the quaint downtown area of Exeter weary from our 11 hour haul I couldn’t help but identify with the small town vibe that reminded me of the country towns my wife and I so love throughout Virginia.
Downtown Exeter
Pickup trucks with lift kits and large wheels rolled by interspersed with Subaru Outback’s, and a healthy contingent of helmetless Harley riders whose exhaust pipes rumbled the glass windows as they passed.

A significant number of cyclists spun through town as well, as did several folks out for an afternoon’s run.

From an outsiders perspective Exeter appears to be an outdoor oriented, physically active town.

A short drive from downtown sits the Sig Sauer HQ and manufacturing plant where Sig Sauer firearms are engineered, honed, and fabricated, with almost all of the pieces and parts being created right there at the plant. That’s right, “Made in the USA”.

Sig Academy Pro Shop

Custom Sig Academy P-226
Previously I had mentioned what activities we were privy to during our trip but what struck me the most out of all of our opportunities was the tour of the Sig Sauer facility.

If ever there was an example of a physical structure taking on the presence of the people who worked inside the confines of its walls, it would be Sig Sauer.

I have never experienced the sense of pride that I encountered as I walked through that facility. It was as if the halls of the building resonated with the confidence and commitment of the people within.

That’s not an exaggeration.

In a time where outsourcing is the norm, and quality has taken a back seat to quantity, the employees at Sig are the personification of American pride that has been lost in so many aspects of our daily lives.

This pride was identified by a no-bullshit stance that could almost be labeled as arrogant were it not for the fact that you could see the honesty and integrity in every worker’s eyes.

This “portrait of America” sported monster goatees and endless tattoos under the backdrop of heavy metal music as it thumped through the bays throughout the factory.

Fabrication….heavy metal

Firearms range….heavy metal

Quality control….heavy metal

Firearms and rock & roll…Damn right

Front to Back; Tactical II .308 with can/ SSG conversion .22/ SSG 3000 .308 with can 

Messing about with the Sig  516 5.56mm
The people of Sig Sauer, from the guys on the floor working 7 days a week producing quality American firearms, to the Instructors out on the sun baked ranges of the Academy provided me with a supercharged stoke that I am still trying to wrap my mind around and am having difficulty conveying into words.

But then those words have already been written through time …

“Live Free or Die”

There is no better moniker for the pride I felt in the people of New Hampshire.

Special thanks to the following;

Ken, Scott, Jesse, Airborne with the 7.62, I don’t recall your name but thanks again…

Thursday, June 2, 2011


With my wife’s recent & extended hiatus from food-bloggery I decided to pick up the slack and run with it.

That being said, mine is but a modest blog, I don’t have 20 or so followers waiting for me to post a recipe on Israeli cous-cous or the merits of whole grain everything…Nope, not here.

What I can provide is a first person account of some of the things that are whipped up in our kitchen on a regular basis through words and photos.

It’s actually pretty "old hat" for me in all reality, I was posting about her delicious morsels well before she had the idea to start a foodie blog.

I’m not calling bull s**t on her or anything, I’m just sayin’…

Besides, I reap the benefits daily and as they say, “Don’t bite the hand that feeds you”.

The plan is to continue with my typical beer parings and even a random appearance of a good red wine.

But don’t expect any yarns about how a fine chardonnay would go with your black rice; After all I’m still a boy…

Tonight’s fare;

Flank steak with tossed salad and grilled potato wedges.

If you want your flank steak tender, marinade it for at least 3 hours in a blend of balsamic and white vinegar, garlic cloves, and Worcestershire sauce. It’s awesome braa!!!

For a cool take on dipping sauce for the taters try a mix of ketchup and Sriracha sauce (add honey for a sweet meets hot combo).

We picked up some local goat cheese for the salad from Lovers Retreat Farm & Dairy during a recent trip to an Urbana Arts Festival. Cool folks indeed.

Modern day hooky & the Electronic Leash

Recorded on Thursday May 19:

-A canoe
-Almost 200 acres of water
-Complete solitude
-And a company cell phone...

Buzz Buzz Buzz; “Hey, are you going to be there on Monday”?

Buzz Buzz Buzz; “Please check your email about changes for Monday”

Buzz Buzz Buzz; “Check your email ASAP about changes to the schedule for Monday”

Buzz Buzz Buzz; “FYI, the dates for _____have changed to _______”

Buzz Buzz Buzz; “You were approved for the trip to _______ on _______”

Buzz Buzz Buzz; “Are the fish biting?”


Buzz Buzz Buzz; “Is it beautiful”?