inicio sindicaci;ón

imwithsam.com

I’m with Sam…who YOU with?

Archive for SAMMY B DAILY

5 Years Later…

It’s hard to believe it’s been 5 years since we’ve touched this site. I wrote the last post a long time ago, but saw it still sitting in the Drafts bin. So I decided to publish it even though it was never completed just to give some closure to the great SS Road Trip.

So what now for the I’m With Sam website? Well, as I think was the original intention, the SS Road Trip part of the site will be archived. The primary part of the website will likely become a web development playground for me to test some things out (maybe some Drupal) and to blab about some of my interests and ongoing adventures.

So for any of you old fans who randomly decided to check back on this website, thanks for checking and I hope to have some interesting material on here again soon!

All the best,
-SammyB

Journey’s End – A Summary by SammyB

It’s been about a month since the end of the road trip. Part of me misses the road…all of the adventures & misadventures, exploring new places, meeting new people, seeing old faces… But another part of me appreciates being in my own bed again, not having to worry about what we’re doing, where we’re eating, where we’re staying, finding a WiFi spot, taking photos & video, trying to upload said photos & video, etc. The road trip was much more Go, Go, Go than I expected it to be. I even packed workout clothes and books. Such wishful thinking… I look back and think how naive I was before the trip.

Amazingly, despite our different personalities and agendas, Shanghai & I managed to not kill one another on the trip. A large part of my agenda was to explore places I might like to live. Before the trip, I compiled a long list of possible cities and towns by researching many different publications and websites. Since I’m looking for a place with a lot of nature & recreation, the most influential sources ended up being the last several years of Best Cities & Towns lists from Outside Magazine and Men’s Journal Magazine. Basically, I decided I need an ocean and/or mountains and lots of sunny days to enjoy them. The question I’ve been asked the most over the past month is, “so, where do you want to live?” Below is a list of some of my favorite things from the trip. And that’s where you’ll find the answer, I think.

A Few of My Favorite Things

Favorite Region: Pacific Northwest
Portland, Seattle and Vancouver were some of my favorite cities. I’d been to Portland a couple of times before but saw it in a whole new light during the road trip. Downtown Portland had more of a big city seedy feel to it than I remember it having. (That’s a good thing.) Seattle was just an all-around cool city, though it seems to have gotten a little crowded there. I’d passed through Vancouver before on my way to Whistler/Blackcomb, but this time I got to spend a decent amount time in the city. Can’t-miss Chinese food and close proximity to the world’s best ski resort…what’s not to like? Well, the weather for one thing. It’s generally overcast throughout the Pacific Northwest nine months out of the year. My friends who live there say it’s not that bad, but I really love my sunny days.

Favorite State: Oregon
Far Northern California and Oregon were some of the lushest areas I’ve ever seen. All kinds of plants thrived there and the trees were verdant and ginormous. Oregon is of course home to Portland, but also has Mount Hood (the States’ only year-round ski resort), Crater Lake, Bend (see below), and other interesting cities and towns such as Ashland.

Favorite Metro Area: Denver
It took a trip around the country to confirm this: Denver is the only big city near the mountains that gets good weather the majority of the year. I feel like Denver is still a bit of a hidden gem, maybe because people mistakenly believe it’s cold and snowy there. I guess that’s a good thing. Otherwise, it would be too crowded and the cost-of-living would skyrocket. Denver gets about as many sunny days as San Diego (another one of my favorite cities) and the air stays nice and dry so the cold doesn’t feel so cold and the hot (yes, it can get hot there) doesn’t feel so hot. The city is big enough to offer most anything a city person could want. (As much as I love the outdoors now, I did basically grow up in Dallas.) There are some super tasty Japanese restaurants, cool bars & clubs, a large self-contained performing arts complex, and all the major sports teams. Most everything is concentrated within the bustling Lower Downtown (LoDo) area. Traffic isn’t too bad. The city has made huge strides over the last several years in smart growth, something I followed heavily while in commercial real estate. They’ve implemented a good mass transit system and transit-oriented developments (communities centered around mass transit stations) have flourished. There are many interesting pocket neighborhoods in Denver. Denver is also surrounded by smaller cities, each with their own personality, all within a half hour to hour of downtown. You have Golden and the majestic Rockies to the west, the Great Sand Dunes to the east, Boulder and Rocky Mountain National Park to the northwest, Fort Collins to the north, and Pike’s Peak, Garden of the Gods, and Colorado Springs to the south. Haha…I think I should work for the Denver Chamber of Commerce.

Favorite Smaller City: Bend, Oregon
Friendliest City: Spokane, Washington

Favorite Radio Station: 101.5 FM – Martini on the Rockies
When you’re on the road for over 10 weeks across the entire country, you end up listening to a lot of different radio stations. Funny that my favorite radio station would be in my favorite city. I’m pretty sure this station didn’t exist when I used to live in Denver. They play an eclectic mix of [mostly] traditional jazz with a nice helping of Ol’ Blue Eyes and the rest of the Rat Pack. Sure their tag line is a little cheesy (personally, I’m all for cheese) but we were truly sad to lose the station as we left the Denver area. Luckily, I can listen to the station again now through their website.

Favorite Restaurant: The Old Fashioned
As you could probably tell from all the food pictures, we spent quite a bit of time exploring the best local places to eat across our great nation. There were many memorable gastronomical experiences, yet somehow one place that we almost missed in Madison, Wisconsin, stood out above the rest. Microbrewed draft root beer in frosty glass mugs, fresh cheese curds with a variety of dipping sauces, the best gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches ever known to mankind, and even some pretty damn good salad made this place serving “traditional Wisconsin fare” my favorite of the entire trip.

Last of the Flickr Photos

Thanks to everyone who came to Karma to welcome us back! It was good to see our DFW friends again after 2 1/2 months on the road.

I uploaded the last batch of road trip photos to Flickr and am working on filling in the rest of the captions. And I’ll post a summary of my thoughts on the trip here sometime this week or next.

The questions I’ve been asked most since the end of the trip (other than “what’s up with the red top?”) are “what’s next?” and “what’s going to happen with this website?” I’ll touch on some of that in my next post. This road trip was just the first of many adventures for Shanghai and me, and this website will likely transform into three sections: an archive section (where this site will go), a site for Shanghai’s adventures across America and China, and a site for my own ongoing adventures. So until next time…

Cheers,

-SammyB

The Sams are Coming Home

Yes, the rumors are true. Over 10 weeks and 16,000 miles later, the SS Road Trip is coming to a quick close. We’ve been on a fast track through the East Coast and Southeast, spending time in all the major cities. Special thanks to our hosts in Camden, Maine (Elaine & Chance), NYC (Jae-Ling & Ed), Philly (Sandra, aka Pure Evil), DC (Austin), and Miami/Keys (Ngan)!! We also had the unexpected pleasure of running into our old college friends, Seurien & Kathy, who just moved to Providence. While I don’t plan on moving to the East Coast, we had a blast along the way as you may be able to tell from some of the Flickr photos…

For those of you who are in or planning to be in the Dallas area on Friday, May 4th, our InterWeb Master, Justin, is organizing a little “welcome home” get-together (see previous post). Keep checking this site over the next week for details.

We’re in Tampa/Clearwater, Florida right now and will be heading up to check out the world’s largest aquarium, the Georgia Aquarium in HOTlanta tomorrow. Can’t wait! After that comes a visit to post-Katrina N’awlins, then back to Big D! Sorry we haven’t been able to update as much as we originally hoped but try doing one of these and hopefully you’ll understand why. But we’ll be working on more video edits including a huge post-trip edit. No telling how long that will take with all the footage we have… Speaking of video editing, check out our producer friend, Tammy’s, inspiring work-in-progress, Operation Babylift: The Lost Children of Vietnam, at http://www.thebabylift.com/

I want to get at least one more post in before we get back to Dallas. This is related to some of the stuff I may be doing for a career down the road and is part of the bigger picture that spawned the SS Road Trip.

While we were in Seattle hanging with Shanghai’s old high school friend, Erik, our old college buddy, Winston (aka Winyo) and post-college friend, Adam, I made a day trip up to Bellingham, Washington to visit the American Alpine Institute (AAI). AAI is widely regarded as the top mountaineering school in the nation and I’m signed up to do their new 30-day mountaineering course that develops & certifies outdoor instructors in both technical & non-technical skills across the diverse terrain of the Northern Cascades (Glacier Peak to Mount Baker). One of the new careers I’m considering is full-time mountain guiding or seasonal mountain guiding paired with something like ski patrolling or working as a SCUBA Divemaster. So I’m obviously pumped about doing this course. The problem is only three people have officially signed up for the course so far and a minimum of six is needed by April 30th for the course to happen. So if you know anyone (friends, coworkers, etc.) who might be interested in this kind of thing please let them know aboot it! More info at: http://www.aai.cc/ProgramDetail.asp?program=93

AAI
SammyB & Big John, one of the guys at AAI

Well, I’ve spent way too much time at Panera trying to get caught up and not enough time enjoying Clearwater/Tampa so see you cats later!

-SammyB

To Live and Drive in LA (3/3)

We’re posting from Camden, Maine. After several days in Canada (Toronto & Montreal) we made our way to Burlington, Vermont followed by Portland, Maine. I’d been to Toronto before but actually found it cooler this time around. We had the luxury of staying in the city with a local, Despina, living in the trendy Queen West area. We hit a lot of cool places including the Bovine Sex Club. I know what you’re thinking…but the name was TOTALLY misleading. No cows to be seen, anywhere! We also went to Niagara Falls and to a good Shanghainese restaurant, Skyland de Shanghai, recommended by our friend in San Fran, Maddy. Montreal was simply awesome! However, I personally don’t remember too much aboot it because I made the amateur mistake of having only one meal (an excellent Quebeqoi lunch at Maamm Bolduc) the entire day before starting a non-stop hard & fast happy hour way too early in the evening. Not only did I not remember half of the night the next morning…I lost my favorite “Hofbrauhaus Munchen 1999” pull-over hoodie. Can’t really replace that. Burlington wasn’t as cool as I was expecting. I was looking forward to it more than any other eastern town/city. It was nice but somewhat unremarkable. Even the Burton headquarters & flagship store was a bit of a letdown. A snow storm was blowing in so we escaped to Portland, Maine. Portland was more along of the lines of what I was expecting Burlington to be. It was a decent-sized town with a bustling nightlife in the Old Port area. Out of the smaller towns/cities, I’d actually place Portland in my Top 3. Camden is about an hour north of Portland and is a popular New England summer retreat. We’re staying with Shanghai’s friend, Elaine, and her boyfriend, Chance. A couple of highlights here…Elaine hit a deer with her van the day before we got to Camden. They spent most of the day yesterday butchering it and we’ve been eating venison. We even had some deer tongue. (WARNING: The Camden Flickr photos may be a bit graphic.) The perfect storm also caught up with us here and we checked out some crazy rain & winds at three different harbors in the area before they were shut down. I feel sorry for the guys who ran the Boston Marathon this year. They had to run head-on into that storm. Speaking of Bean Town, we’re heading down there tomorrow morning. Should be a good time! In the meantime, here’s the third and final segment on the SoCal catchup:

We made all too many trips back and forth between LA and OC. In LA, we met up with Dave, Ken, Steve, Postaer, Jen, Melissa and Pei Ming. We saw the movie “300” at The Grove, a very cool mall as far as malls go, on opening night with Dave & Ken. One of the reasons I don’t think I could ever live in LA/OC is the overcrowding. Everyone knows the traffic sucks but you also feel it just going out to the movies or to the gym. We tried watching “300” on an IMAX screen but all of the theaters were sold out way in advance. And one afternoon while we were gridlocked in Santa Monica, I decided to give up trying to get back to OC and just hit the nearest 24 Hour Fitness. There was a line of cars backed up just to get in and out of the gym parking lot and it was by far the busiest 24 Hour Fitness I’ve ever been in. On the other hand, many of the cool places there wouldn’t be possible without the high concentration of people. I guess you take the bad with the good if you choose to live in SoCal. Speaking of cool places, Dave and the Sams met up with Jen at a popular Cuban restaurant called Versailles. Dave & Shanghai love the place but Jen & I found it meh. I thought Pinkberrys, a popular yogurt & fruit dessert place we went to afterwards, was better. That’s not the cool place though. Later that night, we all met up with Melissa and Pei Ming at a new lounge in Downtown called Edison. I wasn’t expecting much but it was possibly the coolest bar/club I’ve ever been in. It was an old power station converted into a swanky lounge, retaining much of the old power station look. Black & white movies flickered on the distressed brick walls as jazz music wafted throughout the space. Every half hour or so the music would pause for an entertaining burlesque show. Highly recommended if you’re ever in LA! Most of my other memories of LA involve food. Actually, most of my memories of everywhere involve food. But in LA we also hit up a good Korean restaurant, Calbee?, courtesy of Dave, and an oishii Japanese restaurant, Furaibo, courtesy of Steve. Our last stop before making our way up to Monterey and San Fran was Curry House, a great Japanese curry chain, where Melissa brought us some Beard Papas cream puffs. Oh, and I think some people karaoked in there somewhere.

It was a long time spent in LA & OC. We were there so long because we were killing time to meet up with friends at Lake Tahoe, as I mentioned in a previous post.

-SammyB

Two Girls for Every Boy (2/3)

Bonjour from Montreal! We’re having a great time during or stint back into Canada, eh. Despina was an awesome host in Toronto and Montreal is pretty sweet so far too. Just wanted to get another SoCal flashback update in before heading back out on the town. We’ll be in Burlington, Vermont tomorrow followed by Camden & Portland, Maine. I’ll add pics to this post later as I get a chance.

While out in the OC/LA area we hit several beaches, including Laguna, Doheney and Huntington. We even took our very first surfing lessons on Huntington (aka Surf City USA). Our instructor was veteran surfer, Ted, at Zack’s Beach Resorts, located right next to the Huntington Beach Pier. To start things off right, I came out of the restroom with my wetsuit on inside-out AND backwards. Once that little snafu was corrected we were off and running and crashing into waves and falling and crashing into waves and falling and, well, you get the idea. Although the waves at Surf City USA were smaller than usual, they were still way too big, fast and crunchy for beginners like us. But it was still a blast trying. I did manage to actually stand on a wave for about two seconds toward the beginning of our lesson and body surfed several others but the crashing waves really took their toll. Before I knew it I was too tired to keep my balance anymore. Doheny Beach, recommended by Kelso, was much better suited for beginners due to its smaller and slower waves. Unfortunately, they weren’t renting wet suits so we ended up just hanging out on the beach there. Maybe we’ll subject ourselves to the punishment again in Florida.

-SammyB

This is how we do it in the OC (1/3)

Hello from freezing Chi-Town! First of all, congrats to our dear friends back in Big D, Justin & Anna, who are celebrating the first year of what we affectionately refer to as the “Big Mistake.” Just kidding, Anna! 😀 Justin & Anna have been happily married for an entire year now…how time flies. They are celebrating in Dallas in the April SNOW! Crazy… I actually have to be back in Dallas for a wedding by late May so we’ll see how the remainder of the trip schedule goes. But for now, on with the updates!

Flashback: March 5th, 2007. (The 1st of my 3-part catch-up series for SoCal.) We arrived in Orange County after a breathtaking drive up the PCH. First stop, Shanghai’s aunt’s place in Mission Viejo where we were treated to the awesome homemade food & hospitality only relatives can provide. I’d been to LA before but never the OC. It was rediculously nice though a little too suburban for my taste. We met up with Kim, Steph, and Shanghai’s friend, Kelso. Kim and her ludicrously cute shi-tzu puppy, Gizmo, put us up for a night. Kim and her coworkers, Rob & Mike, also took us out for drinks and tasty dim sum at Sam Woo’s in Irvine. Kim works for a not-to-be-named famous video game company and, despite my best efforts, neither her nor her coworkers would reveal anything about the top-secret project they are feverishly working on. Guess we’ll just have to wait and see… It was good to see Steph too. I hadn’t seen her since my trip out to Cali a couple of years ago for the Coachella Music Festival. I’ll let Shanghai tell you about Kelso but mad props to him for basically giving us his place to stay in Costa Mesa while he was whisked away on “work.”

Steph and the Sams
Steph with the Sams in the Irvine Spectrum

Blizzard & SammyB at Sharky’s
SammyB, Mike, Kim & Rob at Sharky’s in Costa Mesa

Gizmo
Gizmo, Kim’s shi-tzu puppy

Flickr Photos have been updated all the way through last night in Chicago so enjoy!

-SammyB

Razing Arizona and SoCal

First of all, a HUGE thanks to everyone who has supported us throughout our RoadTrip. The generosity and hospitality of so many people along the way has blown me away and renewed my faith in mankind. Second, NO MORE READER SUBMISSIONS, Justin!

I’m writing this as Shanghai and I make our way through Oregon. We should be in Seattle on Thursday and will make that our base of operations as we make excursions throughout Washington and British Columbia. If anyone else is down for snowboarding or skiing, we’ll probably hit up Whistler this weekend with a few of our Seattle friends. Maybe we’ll even get Shanghai out on a board this weekend…maybe.

It has been four-and-a-half weeks and over 7,000 miles since we began our trip. Since my last update, we have seen and done quite a bit. After our welcome respite at the Westin Kierland Golf Resort in Scottsdale, we made our way through Phoenix to Surprise, Arizona where we watched the Texas Rangers’ first spring training game. There was no admission charge since we arrived in the 5th inning. And we were still able to hang out right next to the Rangers’ bullpen and dugout! If I remember right, y’all voted to have us get one of the Rangers to say our tagline “I’m with Sam, who YOU with?” Video to come soon…

Shanghai and Jessica
Shanghai Sam & Jessica in Scottsdale

After that, we made our way down to southern Arizona where we stayed on the Tohono O’odham Indian Reservation with our new friends, Aaron and Morgana. (Aaron is a fraternity brother of Ewing, Shanghai’s brother.) There wasn’t a whole lot to see on the reservation itself but we did get to enjoy the company of new friends and check out the Kitt Peak National Observatory, home of the largest collection of optical telescopes in the world.

Aaron and Morgana with the Sams
Aaron & Morgana with the Sams on the Tohono O’odham Indian Reservation

From there we made our way to sunny Southern Cali-forn-i-a. As luck would have it, Aaron knew another fraternity brother, Sean, who had recently moved to San Diego. Sean graciously hosted us road weary strangers at his beach house located right next to Mission Beach. Pimp! San Diego is the other big city I’m considering moving to, other than Denver, and it didn’t disappoint. The night we got in, Sean took us to a cool local pub called The Liar’s Club where we tried all kinds of different beers and had some surprisingly good food. We met a couple there who were a lot of fun and even gave us a good roadfood recommendation: The Coyote Grill, along the beautiful PCH. Later in Tahoe, we saw Rachel Ray visited the same place on her way along the PCH and Laguna Beach. The video footage looked like a high budget version of ours. We also hit up a popular place in Pacific Beach called Moondoggies. And while walking along Mission/Pacific Beach one morning, a girl jogged by and screamed, “I love Shady Grove!” at us. It took a second for me to register that I was wearing my Shady Grove “Keep Austin Shady” t-shirt. (Shady Grove is a popular restaurant in Austin.) Turns out she went to school at UT and she gave us a brunch recommendation so I guess it pays to go to a ginormous school. She pointed at the pier and said Kono’s Cafe was a good place for brunch. We thought, it’s a little far but no problem. So we walked and walked and walked (with mild hangovers and not enough sleep) and the pier still wasn’t getting any closer. Finally, after a two-and-a-half mile hike along the beach we made it to Kono’s only to find a 30-minute line just to get inside the place where the line kept going inside. We had breakfast burritos sitting along the pier overlooking the Pacific. The view was great but the food was just so-so. But maybe we just haven’t developed our taste for California breakfast cuisine. We both dozed off a little after eating, partly because of the lullaby the waves were singing, but mostly because of The Liar’s Club and Moondoggies. I liked San Diego a lot. It had a variety of neighborhoods, each with their own personality, all within a short driving distance of one another. There was the laid back beach life of Mission & Pacific Beaches, the downtown vibe of the Gaslamp Quarter, a huge public park housing the San Diego Zoo, and much, much more. One of the food highlights was the fish taco at the very first Rubio’s, a popular chain that introduced the fish taco to the US. My mouth is watering just writing about it. The only drawbacks I could see to San Diego were the lack of good nearby skiing and the cost of living. The cost to buy a home is sky high but a reasonable rental can be found if you look hard enough. I’ve also been told the traffic there is horrible but we didn’t experience it while we were there. Basically, if I were really into surfing, I’d probably move to San Diego. But heck, if I were really into surfing I might just move to Hawaii.

Sean and the Couple with the Sams
Sean (far right) and the couple we met at The Liar’s Club in San Diego

That’s about all I can muster to write right now. We just arrived in Portland and I’m HUNGRY…especially after having reminded myself of Rubio’s. Next update we’ll start with our extended stint in the OC & LA, where we actually took our very first surfing lessons.

BTW, I’ve updated our Flickr photos. There are quite a few since the last upload from San Diego, including the latest photos from last weekend where I thoroughly enjoyed hanging out and snowboarding with Aileen, Penelope, Karen, Jed, Ben, Amish and Anh in Lake Tahoe while Shanghai partied with Jessica (our Scottsdale host) and her crew. I’m having problems with the Flickr uploader but should be current after we get to Seattle. Happy Birthday to Jessica, Jed, Anita, Jordan, Anh, Jae, Tammy, George and all the other March babies out there!

Amish and Anh atop Kirkwood
Amish & Anh atop Kirkwood after Amish gave Anh a promise ring

Aileen and Penelope at Kirkwood Village
Aileen, our new spokesmodel, and Penelope, Chilly Willy’s new spokesmodel, at Kirkwood

The Crew at Kirkwood Village
(left to right) SammyB, Aileen, Jed, Anh, Amish, Penelope and Bunky after a hard day of boarding at Kirkwood in South Lake Tahoe

Cheers,
-SammyB

3,000 Miles and Counting

So we spent the past two days in Salt Lake City…pretty decent city though the diversity there seemed to be a bit lacking, and I don’t think that’s by pure chance. The city isn’t obviously overrun with Mormons though it is obvious the church has significant influence over the city and the state, with their many large buildings interspersed with government buildings. It’s a big city with a small town feel. Most everything in the city is within easy driving distance of downtown and many places have spectacular views of the surrounding mountains and the state capitol area. One of the highlights was a burger joint called Hires Big H. I had one of their tasty, signature Big H burgers with onion rings and their own specially brewed rootbeer float. Mmm, mmm, mmm… Highly recommended if you’re ever in the area!

It snowed pretty hard on our drive into town. Big, fat flakes seem to be the norm in Utah…perfect for skiing but not so much for driving, as Shanghai described. The first day we spent in SLC turned out to be really nice. We thought it would snow again that night and clear up during the day so we stayed another night and planned to hit Park Springs yesterday. I was pretty pumped to test out my new gear for the first time but it wasn’t meant to be. A nasty winter storm blew in from the west and never let up. While I was removing several inches of snow from my car yesterday morning, a guy drove up, saw me in my snowboarding clothes, and told me the highway to Park City was closed. C’est la vie…

We decided to cut our losses and escape to Arizona. But the drive was a harrowing one to say the least. It was almost total white-out conditions during most of the drive through Utah. One minivan driver in particular nearly ran me off the road twice with his/her crazy driving. And there was one steep downhill grade where my car started sliding even though I was moving at a snail’s pace. But we somehow made it down to Arizona unscathed and even opted to drive through the alternate scenic route near the Grand Canyon. Unfortunately, the northern road to Grand Canyon National Park was closed for the winter so we made our way to Flagstaff. We checked out the Historic Downtown section last night…well, the bars at least. The bars were very collegey — lots of random, poorly mixed party songs, bad karaoke, and sex-on-the-floor style dancing. We’ll check out the daytime stuff today and hit the southern access to the Grand Canyon. Tonight we’ll hit Phoenix where we are eating dinner and staying with Shanghai’s friend, Jessica.

For those of you tracking where we’ll be, we’ll probably hit an Indian reservation and Lake Havasu after Phoenix. Then it’s off to San Diego and Tijuana before working our way up the Pacific Coast. Looking forward to seeing all of our Cali friends next week! BTW, I update the Flickr photos on a fairly regular basis so check em out. More updates later…

-SammyB

Rocky Mountain High

We’re on the road again making our way through some big fat Utah snowflakes and will be in Salt Lake City by the time you read this. This past weekend in Denver was a blast. It reminded me how much I liked living there. I took Shanghai to two of my favorite Japanese restaurants, Domo and Oshima Ramen. We met up with several friends including locals Joy, Tony, Christina, Noah and crew. And by some strange stroke of luck, our friends from Chicago, Iris and Brian, just happened to be in town that weekend. We also made an excursion to Fort Collins, home to Colorado State University and many breweries. I don’t know how the college students there get anything done. We hit the New Belgium Brewing Co, makers of the Colorado favorite, Fat Tire. It’s like Shiner is to Texas. But the highlight of my weekend was a stop at the Singletrack Factory, a small mountain biking and snowboarding shop in Denver, where I bought my first snowboard package! Here’s my setup:

> GNU Rider’s Choice snowboard w/ Magne-Traction
> Burton P1 Wingtip bindings
> Thirty-Two Lashed boots w/ heat molded liners

Those of you who know me, know that I research anything and everything to death before I buy it. I seriously considered going all Burton (Custom X board, CO2 bindings and Ion boots) but think I will be really happy with the GNU. It has won many awards and people who have ridden it swear by the Magne-Traction cuts along the side that allow it to handle ice and other poor surfaces well. Thirty-two is a lesser known brand (outside the snowboarding and skating communities) but their boots feel almost like a regular shoe, at least on my feet. I also bought the store’s only remaining snowboard bag, an orangish-red plaid (Burton calls it “Industrial Average Distressed Plaid”) Burton Gig Bag. It definitely stands out but I kinda like it. Burton also makes matching clothes but I think the bag’s enough for me. I can’t wait to put the new gear to use!! We didn’t go up while we were in Denver but there are several opportunites ahead. Park City, Tahoe, Mount Hood, Whistler, Jackson Hole, Big Sky, Stowe, etc.

After leaving the Denver area we stopped in Fruita, Colorado, home to some world-class singletrack mountain bike trails. It was an interesting small town. As I explore more and more places, I see myself leaning toward a medium-sized town or a large city next to a ski mountain and/or ocean (snowboarding and/or surfing). I don’t think I want to live in a pure resort town though because I appreciate the diversity of people in places that subsist on more than just one industry. But we’ll see…I’m still keeping my mind open to anything.

-SammyB

SammyB’s New Snowboard
Justin (my salesperson) and I installing my new bindings!

Next entries »