Archive for August, 2009

Chelan Falls

Monday, August 31st, 2009

I love Tri-City summers and I love boating, but let’s face it, the boating scene here is like a white trash version of Lake Havasu. Watching guys try to pull 19-year-old homie hopping tail gets old after a week. None of my boating friends wake up early to get the good water. It’s more about the party scene than the wakeboard scene. It drives me nuts. When my friend Jordan invited me to his parents cabin in Chelan Falls I jumped at the opportunity.

I drove to Chelan Falls Friday after work. It’s a three hour drive, which is quite far when you’re by yourself. Jordan lives in Seattle, so he and his friends arrived about the same time I did. We kicked off the weekend with some drinks and hot tubbing, but I didn’t make it very far. Exhausted from driving, I fell asleep on the couch after thirty minutes. What a party animal!

Saturday morning we woke up to ideal wakeboard conditions. The sun was shining and the water was glass. Time to ride! We rallied the troops. It took a while for everyone to get up, organized and ready to hit the water. Someone jinxed us by talking about the wind. Go figure, as soon as we got on the water the wind picked up. A few of us rode, but choppy water is no fun for trying tricks. Right before my wake to wake 180 I thought, “This will not be good.” It wasn’t. I caught my edge and slapped my head against the water. I was done for the day.

We took it easy for a bit and hoped the wind might die down. Jordan has an Inland Surfer Blue Loogie board that is great for surfers of all ages and abilities. The nice thing about wake surfing is you don’t need ideal conditions. Once my head felt better, I grabbed the board and took a few runs. I don’t usually surf because I love the feeling of catching air behind the boat. Plus I’m not very good at surfing. Years ago when I learned to ride, my ex-boyfriend told me I wouldn’t be able to surf because I “don’t understand the concept of pressure.” Let’s just say I understand the concept of pressure and have no problem getting up or riding without the rope, so stick it buddy. My surf set rocked.

Jordan’s friend Bryce loves taking pictures as much as I do. This is great because at home I’m usually the only one with a camera. As a result, everyone gets great pictures of themselves and the pictures taken of me suck. Bryce shoots with a Canon SLR. I’m not sure what his lens is, but it has a good zoom. Bryce and I worked out a deal where when he rode, I took pictures of him using his camera and vice versa. Props to Bryce for taking such amazing surf pictures. Thank you so much, you have no idea how bad I’ve wanted pictures this summer!

We rode, tanned and relaxed for a few more hours before everyone started to get hungry. Jordan cruised back to the cabin, everyone threw on clothes and we drove to Lake Chelan to pick up food. We ate at a really good hamburger stand, then went to Red Apple to buy food for dinner. We bought steaks, marinades, potato salad and lots of corn (22 ears!).

The sun was still shining so everyone went outside to catch a few more rays. Jordan and I took the scooter up to Chelan Falls. There is a huge bridge connecting these crazy rock formations. Ever since taking geology in college, I’ve been really interested in rocks and rock formations. Chelan Falls is a waterfall from Lake Chelan and the water is the most crystal clear blue. It’s surreal. It looks like something from the tropics. When we got back to the cabin everyone was asleep. The water was too calm to not be on it. We woke everyone up and hit the water for round two.

Austin, Bryce, Pat and myself all took another surf set. The light couldn’t have been better for pictures. The gold of the sunset reflected off the hills surrounding the river. The water conditions were ideal. As the sun started to set Jordan suggested I take one more wakeboard run. Well… Ok, I’m never one to turn down wakeboarding. I threw on my shorts, vest, knee brace and helmet. I needed to make this fast, because the sun was quickly setting. Just as I got up and accustomed to the massive Centurion wake, the sun had set. If you’ve ever tried wakeboarding in the dark you’ll understand how difficult this is. It is really sketchy to cut in hard when you cannot see the wake. It’s like a guessing game and it doesn’t go over well. I gave in. No point in getting hurt night riding when we’ve got all day tomorrow.
We got back to the cabin and got to work. The boys took their position at the grill while the ladies prepared salad, side dishes and drinks in the kitchen. I don’t know if it was the sun, the board sports, the cabin or a combination of the three, but the food was exceptionally delicious that night. It tasted extra American. I better enjoy American food while I can, because I will be eating only Chinese food for the next three months. After dinner we cleaned up, played cards and went to sleep. I think everyone was exhausted after such a long day.

Sunday morning we woke up to another glorious day. Mother nature really liked us this weekend. Everyone was eager to get on the water, so we woke up relatively early for a weekend. Bryce and Austin wanted to try the wake kite. The wake kite is like wakeboarding, but with a kite on the rope handle. You get a lot more air on your tricks. The only downside is you can’t let go of the handle and inverts are obviously out of the question. I passed on the wake kite after yesterdays crash. Looking back at it, I don’t know why. I’m still kicking myself for passing up such an opportunity.

I surfed first after the boys played with the wake kite. Wow, what a surf set! The wake literally came up to my waist. It perfectly curled, giving me a good sweet spot to ride. I would drop back on the wake, then cruise forward. Occasionally I would cut up the wave or feel it with my hand. Halfway through my set one of the boys tossed me a beer. I cracked it open, drank and surfed. I rode until my thighs and calves cramped up. I couldn’t go any farther and jumped in the water. This was by far my best surf session ever.

Bryce, Austin, Jared, Jamie and Pat also took surf sets, but we weren’t ready to head home just yet. The boys brought out the tubes for some extreme tubing. Three people jumped on one tube and two people jumped on the other. I usually enjoy tubing, but this was just nuts. Jordan spun doughnuts causing one tube to fly over the other. At one point my tube hit a double up and I caught ten to fifteen feet of air. Somewhere along the line my knee brace broke. I hope extreme tubing is covered in the warranty!

Around 6 pm we headed back to the cabin. We all had work Monday and a long drive ahead of us. The boys cleaned up the boat and the girls cleaned up the house. This weekend went entirely too fast. We said our goodbyes and went our separate ways.

I couldn’t have asked for a better weekend. I am so happy I got out of the Tri-Cities. It is a nice change to hang out with respectable 20-somethings that don’t just care about getting wasted and laid (no offense to all the boys in the Tri-Cities boating scene). I will undoubtedly take these memories with me to China. When I get homesick I can look back at my pictures of sunshine and friends, and feel a little closer to home. Thank you again Jordan for your hospitality. I’m already counting down the days to summer 2010!

♥ BB

Richland Farmers Market

Friday, August 28th, 2009

Today I photographed the Richland Farmers Market for Mid-Columbian, the Eastern Washington lifestyle magazine. I didn’t plan on posting these to my blog, but I liked how colorful my photos turned out. I haven’t been blogging as much lately so I figured these photos would be a good excuse to blog. Enjoy!

My photos will be used for a future article on local produce. There is so much local produce in the Mid-Columbia region, you would be nuts not to shop at the local markets. The food is fresher, cheaper and supports the local economy. Not to mention, when you buy local you reduce greenhouse gas emissions from trucks transporting food to grocery stores.

The Richland Farmers Market takes place at The Parkway every Friday from 9 am to 1 pm, from June to October. Over 80 vendors sell produce and products at the market. Local musicians provide music making the event more enjoyable.

All it takes is one bite of this mouth watering local produce. Once you go local, you won’t go back.

♥ BB

Wake the Desert

Saturday, August 15th, 2009

Today wakeboarders around the Pacific Northwest met at the Mud Hole to ride and Wake the Desert.

I arrived bright and early for registration. I couldn’t believe all the sponsors. Sundown Sport and Marine provided the Malibu towboats. Pita Pit gave free pitas to all registered riders. Rockstar handed out free energy drinks to riders and spectators. Obrien, Slingshot, Straight Line and Smith Optics all provided prizes for winning riders.

Our towboat was an ’09 Mailbu Wakesetter 23′ LSV. I rode behind an ’09 Wakesetter earlier this summer so I had an idea of what to expect. The new wake is wider than the ’08 model and when fully loaded, it is a big boy. The wake comes up to your thigh. When I first rode behind the ’09, I rode at 85 feet and 23 mph without even knowing it. Needless to say, I cut in hard and went huge. Today the wake wasn’t as big. I’m still not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. Tyler, the boat driver, said the Wedge was down and the sacks were full. They obviously weren’t. It threw off my game a bit. Plus the stress of competition didn’t help. I still rode well and had fun.

The lineup for riders went as follows: beginner, intermediate, women, advanced and open. I knew riders competing in all the categories. My friend Kris, who is an amazing wakeskater, rode as a beginner. He stuck some solid wake to wake grabs and 180’s. After two rounds of riding Kris placed first. My friends Ben, Matt and Trent rode intermediate. They rode alright. Ben stuck his wake to wake 360, threw a massive raley and came in third. Trent had a clean run with huge grabs, spins and inverts. In his division he was the clear winner. The women’s division usually doesn’t have a lot of riders. I am not pro and I don’t pretend to be. My run consisted of some wake jumps, grabs and 180’s, but it was enough to take first. BJ rode with the advanced riders. He didn’t place, but he still threw down an excellent run. Open riders Chris Cain and Jack Bunger both had a solid runs, but they weren’t technical enough to beat out-of-towner Jared Schneider.

Today was a great day for grassroots riders. You don’t have to be pro to come out and have a good time. The more I compete, the easier it gets and the better I ride. The atmosphere is laid back. Everyone encouraged fellow riders. I am reminded why I love this sport. Wakeboarding isn’t just a sport, it’s a community. It’s a way of life.

♥ BB