A couple months back, SBUX announced that they would be running a US pilot program, testing methods to bring consumer traffic into the retail locations during "non-peak" hours. The "method" is quite simple really -- serve local beer, local wine, and local organic snack platters from 4pm-11pm. All of this under the same roof that (love it or hate it) we all know well as our local (and global) coffee shop.
The "idea" is neither new, nor innovative. In fact, Starbucks has been serving light alcoholic beverages in most of their European and Japanese shops for years. Even further, while the original "idea" for Starbucks was based off of Shultz' love affair with the European Coffee Shop culture... this latest incarnation only brings it one step closer to the reality of that European staple -- over their, nearly all coffee shops double as snack bars during the lunch hours, and wine/beer bars in the evening.
My latest surprise was to hear of Starbucks entry into the Digital Media sector. Again... pure genius. Essentially, Starbucks has partnered with a number of top-tier publications (Wall Street Journal, New York TImes, USA Today), as well as Yahoo, in order to deliver standard and original content "FREE" through all of the Starbucks locations..... all with "FREE" WiFi internet. Download your local newspaper... download the latest book titles.... download music and movies.......... All while sipping your beverage of choice.
To be honest -- I'm not even a huge fan of their coffee. BUT, having grown up in their front yard of Seattle, and having that coffee culture deeply engrained in my heritage.... I might just pack my bags and move-in to the Starbucks down the street.
With 5-acres of densely wooded terrain.... I've been procrastinating about the inevitable purchase of a chainsaw. Today.... I made my first chainsaw purchase.... and immediately got down to business.
Actually... I've been researching the market for several weeks. In the end, there were just a few choices that seemed to stand-out among the mob. Husqvarna, Makita, Echo, and Stihl.
With a slight push from Jaret... I settled on the Stihl. "Settled" isn't the right word... as any review will tell you that the quality and performance of Stihl Saws is just a bump above the rest. My purchase was the Stihl MS 290, a classic and a standard in the industry. Within 45-minutes of said purchase, the first tree fell.
I will be the first to admit -- I am a terrible lumberjack -- but its A LOT of Big-Ball, Testosterone-Fueled, Wild-West FUN. Yeah, Yeah.... every tree I tried to drop seemed to go in the opposite direction of where I intended. But, rest assured - and knowing me, if you do - I will become obsessed with this particular skill until I can confidently call myself a "Pro".
Below are some still (stihl) shots of the new saw. I will post some action photos in the very near future!!
It was one of those weekends...
September workflow was in overdrive. Significant others are driving us crazy. Weather forcing the end of the riding season. Pressure mounting as our age starts to become a reality...... an escape is immanent.
Jaret, Ryan and I loaded up the bikes in the Johnson Family trailer and headed EAST. We made it out to Salmon La Sac... an area outside of Roslyn, WA.... an area that Jaret Heard was excellent riding up into the Alpines.
To put it lightly, Jaret is not what you would call a "Qualified Navigator". First-off, he's color-blind, so he can't tell the difference between the "Hiking Trails", designated in Red..... and the "Biking Trails", designated in Green. He probably spent a few hours identifying, printing and laminating our trail maps... but in the end, had a very difficult time deciphering them, due to his Red/Green deficiency. (as a side note, he has no idea what color my dirtbike is.......... Its Red).
Needless to say, after a 2.5-hour drive out to our destination, we ended up starting our ride on - what was clearly - an impossible trail. "Oh... maybe this isn't where the trail is", says Jaret.
After two-hours of IMPOSSIBLE trails, and another hour of pretending that we still had pride.... we decided to put the bikes back in the trailer and try for another destination.
"Guys..... wait...... look at the map here. Does this look right to you...? What if we go up the road here another mile..... it shows another trail-head that is supposed to take us to our same destination..... looks like it is a Green Trail for motorbikes". Ryan convinces us all to try the other trail just up the road.
We unload the bikes after reaching the new trail park..... and clearly, we have reached the (originally) intended Trail Grounds.
Starting Point: Somewhere just outside of Salmon La Sac... due North of Roslyn.
Destination: Gallagher Head Lake... an Alpine lake, nestled in the highest peaks of the central Cascades.
The next 20-miles were some of the best that ANY of us have ever ridden. 20 creek crossings. Steep single-track switchbacks. High-Speed logging roads. Intense mixtures of volcanic and riverbed rocks... with dirt ranging from crushed pebbled, to smooth and and damp silt. Every imaginable condition.... perfect weather........... and in the end, we reached a beautiful lake that is only accesible by (extreme) off-road vehicles, or a hike-in.
Gallagher Head Lake was everything we could have dreamed it would be...... pristine.
We did a solid 40-miles on Sunday... on variably "Challenging" terrain. And, in the end... we felt like men.
...thats that whole point, right?
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