Thursday, February 18, 2010

Finding Buddha

A karesensui garden. Maybe not the place to take three, shall we say, busy, kids. But these busy kids ate up the scenery at Portalnd, Oregon's Japanese Gardens to the point that when we got to the zen garden, they actually sat on the benches and contemplated the cleanliness, the simplicity of this little sea of pebbles swirling in ripples around the rough rocks. And they got even more excited when their Dad pointed out that the squatty boulders were actually the tigers observing the towering Buddha. Or something like that. I was so blissed out by the time we got there, you could have relaxed me with a feather.

Read more about it here as Michelle takes you on a tour of the gardens. And definitely plan on a visit to the gardens the next time you're in Portland.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Pain? Try Aspirin . . .

Disappointing news from the land of King of the Hammers -- Uncharted Explorer Cody Fuquay was unable to participate in the race, due to technical difficulties with his vehicle. Having had the battery die in my 1990 Oldsmobile Cutlass way out in Squirrel, Idaho (population 1/2) I feel Cody's pain. But not quite, because I didn't put as much blood, tears, toil, and sweat into preparing for that trip to Squirrel (I don't even remember why I went there) than Cody put into his first attempt at participating in what's described as the toughest rock crawling and desert race in the United States.

If it's any consolation, fewer than 25 percent of the hundreds of participants who entered and qualified for the race finished it -- the course is that rugged and that hard on drivers, mechanics and equipment. Even in the qualifier he was to race in, only five of twenty competitors finished, so we know it's a brutal race.

But Explorers like Cody are undaunted. When we're living our life of adventure and seeking out the uncharted, sometimes we come face to face with challenges and obstacles. But what we decide to do during those challenges defines our adventures.

In other words, he'll be back to race again.

We at Uncharted wish Cody better luck next year at King of the Hammers, and good luck as always as he participates in other desert race and rock crawling events.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Ready for the Races

It's an event that screams for nicknames.

Lydia “Whistlin' Lyd” Hutchinson you'll meet in a moment. Right now, let's talk about Tud. “Tud” is the nickname. “Tud” Kent. He regularly ran the mail from Ashton, Idaho, to the Railroad Ranch in Island Park, Idaho, a journey of about thirty miles. In 1917, he and four others founded the American Dog Derby. He won the first race that year, a 55-mile slog through deep snow and a raging blizzard from Ashton to West Yellowstone, Montana. In the subsequent ten years, he won five more times, each time in a blizzard. They had better blizzards back then.

This year, those who participate in the 100-mile race will do so in Tud's honor – the race now bears his name.

But there's room for the new at the American Dog Derby, too. The 60-mile race, for instance, is named this year for Ray Gordon, of Rock Springs, Wyo. Since 1995, he's won five races at the American Dog Derby, a record no modern racer has bested. He also boasts of running the Iditarod. Twice. Best I've done is hook our wiener dog up to the kids' sled for a race down our suburban street.

So go to Ashton this year to see the real thing. Races this year kick off Feb. 18 at about 7:30 am (I'm fudging a bit on the time here, get there early to get a good view and so you don't miss the race). Races go on through Saturday the 20th, with plenty of events in town to keep you entertained.

For more information on this year's events, go to here.

For Uncharted's story on the event last year, go here.

Friday, February 5, 2010

King of the Hammers

Sometimes, when I'm driving my Toyota pickup (no brake problems yet) or my Honda Pilot, I imagine what it would be like to tear off the highway and go bouncing through the fields next to the highway. Then I remember the rainy, bleak morning when I sat in said Toyota with a thrown rod on the side of the road, lamenting how difficult it is to find competent assistance and parts at 3:30 in the morning, and decide, you know what, I'm going to stay on the road.

Cody Fuquay doesn't do that. Oh, he doesn't necessarily go tearing off through the wheat or canola, either, but he does take his rig -- in this case, a Ruesch Panther -- off-road to crawl up rocks, bounce up and down gullies and otherwise find ways to use and abuse his vehicle without worrying about breakdowns, because when he does break down -- I did indeed say when -- he's got a mechanic and fabricator with him: himself.

Cody, an Uncharted Explorer, will participate in California's Griffin King of the Hammers off-road endurance race next week. We hope he survives, emerges victorious and then returns to tell us about everything that happened to him. Good luck, Cody!

Here's How to Stop Spamming Your Uncharted Friends

First of all, the obligatory discussion on Spam.

 Next, a brief discussion on how to avoid spam. At least at Uncharted. And at least from Uncharted.

You know, we were pretty excited when we got the ability to automatically e-mail our friends when a new story or photoset posted. But then we realized: We're going to e-mail our friends when a new story or photoset is posted. Complete with typos, embedded coding, bits of breakfast and anything else we'd like to clean up but without spamming our friends into oblivion.

But now, eureka, a solution. Here's how to fix typos, edit captions and stories on Uncharted without filling your friends' e-mail boxes with spam:

1) Open up the story or photoset you want to fix.
2) Fix the mistakes, make your corrections or additions, et cetera.
3) When you're done, do one of the following:
          A) If you're fixing a photoset, click on "Save," not "Done."
          B) If you're fixing a story, click on "Done," not "Publish."

Your story is now ready for use, sans errors. Happy viewing.

And, yes, we know our terminology is inconsistent. We're very consistent that way. We're going to fix it so when you're just saving, you're "saving," and when you're publishing, you're "publishing."