Ridelog - May 1st, 2016: Slimey Crud Run

What do you get when you combine 45 degree weather, Wisconsin roads, and a missed motorcycle meet up? Well you (sort of ) get the 2016 spring Slimey Crud Run.

As appears to be a tradition with me, I lead a motorcycle ride in cold weather. Yesterday was supposed to be the annual slimey crud run up to LeLand Wisconsin. The day started out pretty rough. Temperatures in the morning were about 45 degrees with a light rain. It was cold and those who signed up dwindled from twelve to a hardy six when the day started. 

Our ride up to Wisconsin went pretty smoothly. It remained cold, but it did stop raining and we had a nice ride through the Wisconsin country roads. As a group leader though I ended up missing one my my turns, and as you an see from the map that Tim had on the ride, we ended up backtracking most of our way. I made a turn onto County Road KK instead of HH. In the end we missed the actual crud run meet up (we were really close before my wrong turn too), but we did have some great riding though. The roads were a bit hairy since there was a bit of mud and gravel on them, but they were largely deserted. 

We ended our day by heading over to the Grumpy Troll in Mt. Horeb for lunch before calling it a day for the long trek back to Illinois. We hit some rain and cold on the way back so the hot shower when I finally got home was welcome. 

Special thanks to Toni and Tim for capturing these photos you see posted here. 

May 2014 Video Gaming

This spring so far has been a pretty fun time for video games. It has been my sort of go to stress relief after I come home from work. I have been playing quite a bit of Titanfall since its launch back in March. The game is basically just Call of Duty, but the formula still works and it remains fun to jump in and play and hour or two. There has been quite a bit of complaints from some people online about the value of the game for online only. I never quite understood the issues with those arguments. People spend $60 on COD all the time without touching the single player at all. A new map pack is coming out in a couple of weeks that I am looking forward to play. 

I also picked up Super Mario 3D World a few weeks ago for the Wii. That is a gorgeous looking game and if anyone had an qualms about the Wii U producing some good looking games, just look to the Nintendo products for it. It is your standard Mario game in many respects and has all the fun you expect there. I have liked playing it in short bursts of 30-45 minutes, which seems to get me through 2-3 levels before I hit a road block. If you are trying to be a completionist and collect all the stars, the game can be quite challenging.  Mario Kart 8 is coming out at the end of this month and I am really looking forward to that. All of the video and screenshots that have been coming out so far make the game look quite phenomenal. 

I have also been slowing still chipping away at Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning on my Xbox 360. That is another really pretty game, and it fills my sort of mindless RPG niche at the moment. I wouldn't say that it is a great game by any stretch, but the fight mechanics are solid enough to keep me going and the world is just too pretty not to look at. I thing that drags the game down a bit for me is all of the sidequests, which all come across as a bit meaningless. They all feel like sidequests from an MMO and they are extremely numerous. Overall it is worth playing if anyone comes across it. 

My Ouya Arrived This Week

Alright, so those who know me know that I am a gamer. Last year I was a backer of the kickstarter for the Ouya project. The Ouya is a small, very cheap open source gaming platform built on Android. The whole concept is actually pretty cool. This week I received my kickstarter Ouya and decided to take some photos. 

From a hardware perspective it is actually a pretty nice looking little box. The build quality seems pretty good and it is really easy to get access to the components. The control is nicely ergonomic and the face plates for the batters are held in place by magnets that attach to the screws on the chassis of the controller internals. A really interesting design choice which I think is brilliant. 

Overall the software at this point is still pretty rough. This is a beta of a v1.0 production. The Ouya interface is pretty bare bones and a bit laggy at times. You can see a lot of elements of the underlying android mobile interface if you delve too deep and there really aren't too many games for it at this point. I really hope it succeeds in the long run though. The idea of having the open platform that is cheap to develop on for students and whatever is really promising. It really connects with some of the DIY nature you see coming out of the Make people with the 3D printers and Arduino, etc. 

Trout Fishing: Black Earth Creek Wisconsin

Last weekend my Dad, brother and I went up to to Wisconsin near the Middleton area to do some fly fishing near Black Earth Creek. We are terrible at fly fishing, but doing these little adventures is always a lot of fun. Black Earth Creek is a lot closer than the streams we tried to hit up last year and it was only about a 2-3 hour drive since it is just west of Wisconsin. Overall our experience was a lot better. The creek area is much more accessible than the creeks up near Viroqua and despite having more people overall on the water, it was wooded enough where you didn't really see that many people. 

We (my brother) caught one fish this year, which is fine, but I would definitely hit this place up again. There is also an excellent fly shop in the adjacent town of Cross Plans called "On the Creek". They sort of open up whenever they feel like it, but the guy working the shop was super helpful for giving us some tips on places to start. They also have an excellent map on their wall of the entire creek area with information on parking locations and access points. Highly recommended. 

Ridelog: May 5th, 2013 - Slimy Crud Run

View 05-05-13: Slimy Crud Run in a larger map

It has taken me forever to get this stuff uploaded. This week has been a nightmare, but last weekend I had a wonderful time doing my first Slimy Crud in Wisconsin. It was a blast......Well it was once we got past our first hiccup. The day started out with us all meeting at the Belvidere Oasis off of I-90. Not more than five minutes into our ride one of our riders crashed on an off ramp. What turned out to be an annoying inconvenience turned into something much worse when a state trooper showed up and immediately was a jack-ass right out the gate. 

The crash also unfortunately resulted in our group getting split up at first, since about half of us didn't see the crash and kept on riding. This led to one of our other riders (Hans) and I getting split up from the group and partially getting lost. We saw some people double back to try and meet up, but it was a divided highway. Hans and I ended up continuing to ride for a while, but we were not sure what the turn off was. This ended up in a rather funny incident with us trying to find out where people were and us following a random guy who was headed towards Galena. 

In the end though we found our group, literally as we were about to turn around and the ride ended up being one of the better ones I have been on for a while. Great roads up in Wisconsin, some good people and a fun bite to eat at the end.