Monday, December 10, 2012

Chasing the UP844 in Nevada

On September 28th the Union Pacific 844 steam train came through Reno/Sparks again. I took some time on the 27th to take the tour like I did the last time it visited. It was beautiful as ever, polished and prepped for everyone to tour and gawk at. In addition to being huge and beautiful, the tours are free to the public. The Nugget in Sparks allowed everyone free parking and a free shuttle to the train. All the drivers had a great attitude and a smile.

I spent about and hour and a half checking out this amazing train then visited with the folks from the Nevada Railroad Museum and made my way back to the truck. The following morning I waited in West Reno to see the train leave town. Then with some time to spare, I decided to chase her down again by Truckee at Boca. It offered a great view of the 844 coming around a bend and then heading along the freeway towards the town of Truckee.

I wish you could have been there to see and hear this rolling piece of history as she steamed on past. It is an amazing sight that really wakes up your senses and for some odd reason causes grown adults to start waving as she passes by. Here is a video I made to share the experience with you. Hope you enjoy it and get out to see her for yourself if the UP844 is coming through your town.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Mt Rose Summit Again!

I made it to the top. Heaven on Earth maybe?
So it was nearing the end of Summer and I decided to see one of my favorite places again. The Mt Rose Summit trail is my go to thinking and pondering trail. I like to use it to iron out my stinking thinking and get ready for Winter. Usually I make the hike toward the end of Summer right around the time of the Reno Air Races. This year the weather was wonderful as I cleared away a Monday for a free morning to hit the hill again. This year I decided to try and run up to the summit.

Looking down towards Reno.
I guess I forgot how steep this trail gets as it totally kicked my ass this year. I made it but not before having to go into a power walk up some sections of the trail. Wow, it was steep! It was till a blast and really just what I was looking for to clear my head and make me feel alive. Once at the top I stopped to check out the view and let me tell you it was breathtaking. 360 degrees of amazing beauty. Tahoe, Truckee, carson City and Reno all within a turn at the top. I sat and pondered and remembered all the great thinks I had experienced this year. I thought of the thinks I was going to do in the time before I would be back here again. I sort of just let my mind wander and it was great.

I took a few photos while I was there to remember the day and then put my head back on my shoulders and got ready for the decent. Ran all the way back to the parking lot coming down then had a cold chocolate milk and a power bar and headed back home.

What a great day. I still glance up at Mt Rose when I drive down the road and remember the summit and the beauty and the power it seems to have to take my troubles away. Can't wait to get back ... just as soon as the snow melts enough. I do wonder if folks snowshoe to the summit in the Winter? Well maybe someday, for now I will wait.

Peace, Love and Bliss,


First Half Marathon RunEdRun 2012

So after a few months of running, I decided to try a half marathon (13.1 miles). I found one in Douglas County at the High School that sounded like fun. It was called RunEdRun and was to benefit the Douglas County School District. The entry fee was not high and the course was pretty flat so I thought this would be the perfect first attempt at a Half Marathon.

Between the 10K in Ashland in July and October 7th I got in a few 13 mile training long runs so I knew I could do the distance. I was also pretty sure that I was not going to be up with the leaders. With both of those considerations in check the only thing left to decide was what condition would I be in after the race. I knew to take it easy and not go out too fast so that I would have something left for the last half of the race. I knew that in my mind but must have forgot to tell my legs that. I went out with everyone else, once around the track before leaving and heading to Genoa. I should have known that we were on a pretty fast pace as I could hear the announcer reminding the runners to save something for the end. Oh well I felt great and was running right with the pack.

Off we went down some beautiful city streets and then out into a farmers pasture. The pasture part was neat because were running on a dirt road and right past cows. The cows looked at us like we were crazy as the farmers opened all the gates and gave us that same "you are crazy" look.

Once across the pastures we were on the paved roads again and heading towards Genoa. The roads were pretty quiet and amazingly flat. I mean really flat, what a great course for a first Half Marathon. Into the little historical town of Genoa and turn left. We were on our way past David Walley's Hot Springs and some nice homes. Then another left turn and we were on another long flat run back towards the High School.

At one point we started passing the runners from the shorter races. It was really fun to give them a high five and send some encouragement their way. Some were struggling and a good word seemed to give them a little more juice to keep going to the end.

Back at the High School their was a finish line and awards for the top finishers. They also had some Spirit competitions for the local schools to compete for money that would go to the winning schools.

I finished way faster than I ever expected to finish. My finish time was 2 hours and 8 minutes. I probably should have run slower to keep the soreness down after but what the heck, it was a race.

I am looking forward to my next race now. It will be the Eugene Marathon in Eugene Oregon in April 2013. Not too far off to start getting excited about it already.

See you on the road...


Sunday, August 19, 2012

Thoughts On My First 10K

Everyone who has run knows that its most important value is in removing tension and allowing a release from whatever other cares the day may bring. ~Jimmy Carter

Hi Friends,

 Hope this Summer is shaping up to be everything you hoped it would be. Our days are always pretty exciting in July. We take our week off to get away, travel to Oregon and enjoy some of what we think Summer is all about. This year I have been trying to shed a few pounds and act as much NOT my age as possible.

While making plans for my adventures I work around the family time Brenda needs with her family, so I tend to make plans that can be changed easily or that really are right off the top of my head.

This year I Googled about the best runs around Medford and Ashland to see what popped up. I was leaning towards a different run every day. What intrigued me most from my search was the Ashland 4th of July 5K and 10K runs. It seemed to have all the coolio things I enjoy... running, Ashland, The 4th of July ... it might be a perfect solution to my activity calendar. After signing up online and paying my fee I was stoked for the 4th to arrive so the games could begin.

We got to Medford and I explored some running routes around the in-laws house that sounded fun. I actually got mentally lost a couple times and decided to make my short runs into longer, whats that around the corner runs. It was great.

The 4th finally arrived and I got up early for my first 10K. I was really excited and left the house before  anyone else opened even one eye. I wanted to get to Ashland early to see the little town wake up and get a good parking spot. By the time I arrived runners were already warming up by running up and down Main Street. Folks were pinning their bibs on and swapping stories too. The serious runners toed the line and the gun sounded about 7:45 AM and we were off. I had no plans to win or even compete in this race so I settled in to a spot that kept me out of the way and hoped that I would not clip anyones heels as we made our way down Main Street. Then we turned and what we got next was one of the greatest tours of Ashland you could ever get. Down we ran, passed little homes with beautiful yards in a area of town I had never seen before. It was an Oasis of green fields, streams and small streets. This must be what heaven is like. We made our way to the Bear Creek Greenway and ran back towards downtown along the creek for a few minutes. Then we started climbing the hills back towards downtown.  The town had come alive since we left with families and parade entrants lining up for the 4th of July parade. It was great to turn onto Main Street again and see all those smiling faces.

As I made my way down the final stretch of the run, I remembered someone telling me that you always run as hard as you can as you get near the finish. Not because you are winning, or even among the finishers. But because you will always remember the joy of pushing hard for the finish and the thrill of running hard those last few blocks. I did and it was great! I even managed to find a picture of me running towards the end, having the time of my life.

I finished near the bottom of my class, but what a wonderful day. I am already making plans to be in Ashland next year for the 4th of July run and maybe staying for the parade that follows. Many thanks to Ashland for letting me run around like a wild man in your little town and not calling the police. Also many thanks to the organizers of the run for making me feel so comfortable.

Peace, Love and Bliss,


Monday, July 02, 2012

Wonderful Memories

Hi Friends,

Wow, I checked out this trailer today and the memories from days gone by just came flooding over me. Shared it with Brenda and she was excited too. When she and I met my car was a bug. We fixed it up and changed it to a CalLook bug after an article in Hot VW's Magazine.

Over the next few years we had many wonderful adventures in our bug, many that included getting by with pennies to spare. Or getting up the morning after driving all night to see both back tires flat from just being worn out. Or working all night to get the engine well enough to get us to the Bug-O-Rama in Sacramento where we would have the time of our life.

We are really excited to see this new film come home for us to see together, still, now after 30 years.

Peace, Love and Bliss to You All!!


OLDER N' FASTER // The California Look : TRAILER from Stephen Brooks FILMS on Vimeo.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

On The Road in Oakland

The company I drive for has decided to start getting back hauls to help pay the fuel bill for the empty trailer that usually runs between Reno and Hayward. Today is my first back haul.

I wanted to try and make a great first impression for what might be a new, regular customer. Receiving hours in Oakland are 6:00 am till noon and I wanted to be first at the dock. So I left Reno at 1:00 am looking to impress with my super service.

Well it is 6:00 am and now I am told I will be waiting untill at least 8:00 am before they will start unloading. It is sort of funny, but it is mostly just trucking and is the norm for most docks. Sure will be different from carpet deliveries where you work fast and get done early.

Peace, Love and Bliss


Friday, June 15, 2012

One Mans Trash is Another Mans Art

One man's junk is another man's treasure.      -- unknown

Hi Friends,

Driving through Yerington, NV right off 95A sits one persons little art display. Sure to many of us the parts would have been junk, but to this Yerington resident it was art and offered the artist a way to express a feeling.

This artist created some fine animals for his farm, some tractors and what looks like a chariot from the old Roman days. There is even a more interesting way of collecting mail. What a wonderful celebration of creativity in the middle of the country in Nevada.

May all your days be filled with beauty and celebration too.

Peace, Love and Bliss


Sunday, June 10, 2012

Junkyard Airplane Art

The air up there in the clouds is very pure and fine, bracing and delicious. And why shouldn't it be? - it is the same the angels breathe. ~Mark Twain, "Roughing It"

Hi Friends,

We were on our way to Medford a few weeks back and found this coolio junk yard airplane near Susanville, CA.  It appears that the crew at the land fill was bored and shopped some of the piles of scrap to get the parts that make this neat bird fly. In addition to the big engine and the huge prop, it looks like a pretty fast bird as evidenced by the swept wings.

Do you have the story on this bird?

Hoping all your dreams come true and you always sing on key.


Friday, June 01, 2012

Musical Family "Art by the Side of the Road"

Every child is an artist.  The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.  ~Pablo Picasso

Hi Friends,

Last time we visited Medford, OR I found this family of musicians playing just off the main drag by the library. What a wonderful way to add warmth and fun to your downtown space. It invites you to explore the rest of the downtown space.

What a treat!


Saturday, May 05, 2012

Our Silver Saddle Ranch Adventure

He knows when you're happy He knows when you're comfortable He knows when you're confident And he always knows when you have carrots. ~Author Unknown

Hi Friends,

We had planned to take the horses out to the Genoa Cowboy Poetry & Music Festival last weekend. We hooked up the truck and trailer and had most everything in place for a wonderful ride in Genoa. Then we were off to bed for a few hours of shut eye ...

Somewhere between laying down and getting up the next day the wheels fell off the cart. Neither of us was able to get any sleep and we tossed and turned most of the night. In the morning, both of us exhausted, we decided not to get up early to get to the Genoa ride. Instead we would see what the afternoon brought us.

We gave it some thought in the morning over coffee and conversation and decided to give the Silver Saddle Ranch a try. We read about it a few weeks prior and it sounded like just the ticket to keep our weekend ride dream going. East of Carson City on the East side of Prison Hill we found this little oasis of trees and green fields that was just about perfect. Except for few walkers and some folks with dogs we had the park to ourselves.

We parked and checked out the facilities map and headed off by a little creek lined by just blooming plants. The trails were very nice, mostly dirt and sand (with some areas of small rocks) and mostly wide enough for two horses side by side. There was a great trail that ran around the perimeter or the working ranch and then finished with a short section right down the middle of the alfalfa fields. It was almost more than our horses could stand. Like kids in a candy shop, they munched on the sweet feed.

Then we tried the trails that take you into the sandy/rocky part of the park. There was a slight incline that gave the horses a bit of a workout, but it was nothing more than we could handle. Silver Saddle Ranch has the old fashioned drop box type of restrooms like you will find in most parks, and they are in good shape.

We did bring our own water, but found a spigot there if you need water for your horses (or you). We sure had a great time and plan on visiting again soon. Well maintained and a ranch forman on site, this is a nice safe place that we and our horses loved.

Hope to see you on the trail ...

Love and Bliss,


Took this video to share. It captures some of the fun we had

Friday, April 13, 2012

Spring From Lake Tahoe

Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather. ~John Ruskin

Hi Friends,

Work took me back to Lake Tahoe today, thank goodness for the company making mistakes. After a night of pretty heavy snow and some more added in the morning it looked beautiful. One of the best things about Spring snow storms is that they only last a short time and then we get right back into the Spring experience.
I stopped today at a overlook that I used to always stop at to catch my breath. Lately I had flown right past this spot because I found myself on the wrong side of the highway. Today I needed a good catch my breath break and found it at Logan Shoals near Cave Rock. I really could have taken an hour or two here but had to get back on the road.
I did stay long enough to breath the fresh air and took some video to share with you. If you find yourself at lake Tahoe and need a moment of bliss check out Logan Shoals yourself.

Peace, Love and Bliss

Monday, March 19, 2012

Back Over Donner Pass

Hi Friends,

Just put together another short video of my last trip over Donner Pass. Thought  It is getting late in March so these snow storms will be coming to an end soon, and I will be running to Vacaville on bare pavement again. The Spring and Summer are what make these storms a bit more bearable.  With every trip over now I can see the trees turning green again, many with colorfiul flowers on them as they get ready to celebrate the return of warmer days.

On this trip CalTrans had maximun chain requirements up for the trucks and the roads were covered with ice and a top layer of snow. It was actually not a bad trip over, but I do like to take it a bit slower than the rest of the drivers on the road. My trailer is usually empty heading West over the hill so it has a tendency to slide around a bit more than those with a load. Then again, my thinking is that I drive like an old man so I can live to be an old man.

So it is off on another adventure over Donner Pass heading West. This time I left the video at normal speed and the sound is on so you can hear the rumble of the chains.  It tells a story about a day in my life and reminds me of the glory of Spring and Summer and the warmth of the Sun.

So strap in and grab a warm beverage and lets get on the road.


Thursday, March 08, 2012

Lets Go Truckin Over Echo Summit

Hi Friends,

Well it was a wonderful day in the mountains so I thought I would share this trip up and over Echo Summit on Highway 50. If you checked out my last post we were knee deep in snow and chained up on Donner Pass. What a difference a couple days make as today brought us temperatures in the 60's and beautiful blue skies as far as you could see. Knowing there are days like these make those snowy days bearable.

I pushed play as I neared the 600 foot marker and filmed my ride over Echo to Myers. Oh, then I sped it up a bit so you wouldn't have to watch all day. If you look close you might see the two bears hiding along the side of the road.

Until our next adventure ... keep the shiny side up!


Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Up and Over Donner Pass

Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.  ~Lao Tzu

Hi Friends,

It has been such a mild Winter so far and it is almost over. I have been waiting for some time to make a video from my dash cam of a run over Donner Pass in the snow. Well I was finally able to put together something for you the other day. It is not high cinema or award winning, but it was fun to make.

These late Winter storms can be interesting. It might be 60 to 70 degrees one day and I can be throwing chains the next day. That was the case this week.  I was riding the horses with Brenda on Sunday and loving the warm sun then on Tuesday we were driving 60 miles with the tires making their chain noise on the pavement.

There was not that much snow, but CalTrans must figure if you let the drivers run wild they will hit something or worse. I understand and just take my time getting over the hill. You will probably notice there are a bunch of cars and trucks that are flying past me. It bothered me at one time in my life, but not any more. I figure my job  is to get the load over the hill safely and it will take the time it takes. One of my first bosses at Mohawk reminded me regularly that it was just rug and nothing more. Lives did not depend on it and a couple extra hours would not make that big a difference.

It is kind of fun driving most of the time. When the season gets toward the end and we have been chaining for a few months, I tend to get tired of it. Mostly I get tired of the smell of the road grime and the wet. Sometimes it feels like I am wet for months.  Then comes Spring and I smile and enjoy watching the season change back to green and life return to the roads I drive. Soon the Winter grind is forgotten until October brings it back. Bliss!

Thanks for stopping by. Be kind and follow your bliss.