Wednesday, June 13, 2007

They finished! (Final time - 84 hours)

Jon and Stacy arrived in Seadrift around 9:00 pm last night. It wasn't even dark yet! Luckily, Jon did not have a repeat of the "Safari Feet" from 2005, however he does have one broken rib, a few random bruises, and about 400 chigger bites. We got back to Austin at 2:30 this morning after the longest 3-hour drive ever.

Pictures from the Saltwater Barrier checkpoint (Day 4):

Almost in.

The guys are only allowed to get water and ice at each checkpoint along the way.

Jon was covered in caterpillars.

Pictures from Seadrift:

Paddling across San Antonio Bay.

The guys with their land crew: Danny, Belinda, and Marty.

I tagged along at the end.

Receiving their plaques. I am now taking bets on how long it will be before Jon gets drunk enough to give it away.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Jon and Stacy are on the river

A few people have asked me for updates on Jon and Stacy's progress in this year's Texas Water Safari. The race started on Saturday morning at 9 am. I just heard from their land captain a couple of minutes ago that they reached the Cuero checkpoint at 12:50 this afternoon. If you'd like to see a nice map of all the checkpoints, click here. Don't count on seeing their times on that website though. At this point they are near the back, and they results are only posted for the first 40 boats or so at the later checkpoints. They slept a lot last night, so their land crew thinks they will pass a bunch of others who need to sleep tonight.

Here are some pictures from the start of this year's race:

Heading for the water.

Starting gun.

Ducking under a bridge at the first low-water crossing.

Here's a good picture of the guys on Day 1 that I stole off another website:

Courtesy of Bob Brooks.

I thought some of you might find the Wikipedia entry on the Water Safari interesting:

Texas Water Safari
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Texas Water Safari, billed as the "World's Toughest Boat Race", is a trek down waterways from San Marcos, Texas to Seadrift, Texas. The primary requirement is a boat powered only by human muscle. The event was first held in 1963, and is run annually.
In 1962 Frank Brown and Bill "Big Willie" George decided to navigate from San Marcos to Corpus Christi, Texas without a motor. They wanted to share this month-long journey with others, so in 1963 they held the first Texas Water Safari.

The race is scheduled to begin on the second Saturday of June of each year, unless extremely inclement weather prevents it from being held safely. The Safari has been postponed in only two years (twice in 2004, making a total of three postponements). The total distance traveled is 262 miles. Racers must take all food and equipment needed with them, receiving only water and ice along the way.

The Safari course includes natural rivers like the San Marcos, with rapids and dams. Most boats destroyed on the course are lost in the upper river. The San Marcos River converges with the Guadalupe River and becomes wider and slower. The main dangers in the middle river are sweepers, downed trees, logjams and dams. Near the end of the course there are lakes and swamps, and it ends with a crossing of the San Antonio Bay.

There are many popular and private checkpoints along the course. Experienced support crews may jealously guard their secret checkpoints. There are 12 official checkpoints, including the finish line. Their locations are published and they are staffed with race officials. The Team Captain of each team must be present and sign off the team's time as the team leaves (teams are allowed one missed checkpoint).

Official Checkpoints:
Staples Dam
Luling 90
Zedler Mill-Luling Dam
Palmetto Park
Gonzales 183
Cuero 766 (Cheapside)
Cuero 236
Victoria City Park

Participants belong to one of a number of classes. The Unlimited class is one of the best known to spectators, and is restricted only to watercraft powered only by human muscle. Attempts have been made to win in craft of unconventional form, but the records show that the best results are achieved by a well-trained team in one of the multiman canoes (the records for largest team and fastest finish time are held by nine- and six-person canoes respectively). Other classes include Tandem Unlimited (similar to unlimited, but only two entrants per boat), Solo Unlimited (one entrant), and other types defined by standard or convention.

Participants tell of frequent hallucinations in the lower river (because most boats take almost forty hours to finish, and many racers do not stop to sleep, delusions are often unavoidable). Other challenges include aggressive alligator gar, alligators, sharks (while crossing the bay), poisonous water moccasin snakes, fire ants, and mosquitoes. Participants' boats are frequently damaged along the upper river, given the technical nature of this portion of the race course. Attempts to repair boats in the field are met with varying amounts of success.

The Safari is attended, in part, by a core group of followers consisting of former competitors, family and friends. Names and stories quickly become common-knowledge and there is a rich body of lore available to anyone who takes the time to seek it out.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

And the livin's easy

Summertime is upon us, and we are starting to get a taste of what we are in for over the next 4+ months. Today is supposed to be around 95 degrees and nearly 100% humidity. Nichole and Gaurav are in Singapore laughing at me right now, because I'm pretty sure that's what they live in all year round. By the way, sorry we've been MIA lately. Getting settled in the new house has been a slow process. Here's an update on some recent events as well as what we've got coming up:

- We bought and moved into our new house (see previous post). We have since done done some painting, had a pool party, and rearranged our furniture a hundred times. We'll try and post some "after" pictures soon.

- The month started off a bit stressful when Kona slipped on our new laminate floor and partially tore his ACL. I know, right? Who knew dogs had an ACL. Apparently we dodged a rather expensive bullet, because if he had torn it completely, we would be looking at a surgery in the neighborhood of $2500.
- Shannon spent a week in beautiful Kemmerer, Wyoming. Some trivia for you: Kemmerer is the Fossil Fish Capital of the World and home of the very first J.C. Penney store. There is one (decent) restaurant in town called Bootleggers. I think I have now had nearly everything on the menu. The week in Kemmerer was followed by a visit to Salt Lake City to catch up with Matt and Elisabeth. I had a great time hearing about their upcoming wedding plans and eating sushi with their fun friends. Finally a stop in Denver was in order. I had a chance to get dinner and drinks with Cristy, Deborah, Allison, Chuck, Ann, and a bunch of other friends. I didn't realize how much I missed everyone!
- Nichole and Gaurav had a beautiful baby girl on May 20th! Congratulations to the new parents! We can't wait to meet her in person someday.

- Jon is getting ready for his 10th (or 11th?) Texas Water Safari. The indelible Fumar Chochar Mopar is being patched up and epoxied in anticipation of this Saturday's start date. No doubt photos and a distinctly "Jon" post will appear on the blog following the race.
- Ann and Chris are engaged! Unless you Colorado people have been living under a rock, you know Chris finally bought the rock. Let the wedding emails fly (at least between Ann and Shannon, I doubt Chris and Jon will be trading opinions on gowns and bouquets for the next year).
- We will be taking a short trip to Colorado near the end of June to close on our house there. We feel sad letting it go, but we have been renting it to the buyers for 6 months, and we feel confident that they will take good care of our first home together.

- Shannon's parents are coming for week-long visit to check out the new house. The list of projects continues to grow. I think I'm the only person who's dad needs to ship his tools out ahead of time in order to complete all the crap we ask him to do for us.
- Shannon is going to Oahu for a two-week work trip. I know, it's a rough life, right? Seriously, I 'll be working hard that whole time, I swear. We are fortunate that Jon will be able to join me in August for a week-long vacation. If you want to drool over my acommodations and the scenery I can expect from my hotel room while I'm there, click here. Stay tuned for more obnoxious posts where we blatantly brag about shark dives, mai tais, and snorkeling with humuhumunukunukuapua'as.