The Hoppy Okapi

A 2012 Pacific Crest Trail Adventure

Let the Training Begin… August 15, 2009

Filed under: biking,Century Training,cycling — Amanda @ 21:17
Tags: , ,

It’s been a very cycling-centric year for Chuck and me – in February we watched the final stage of the Tour of California on the cold heights of Palomar Mountain; in May I participated in Bike-To-Work day, and started a habit of bike commuting once or twice a week; in July, we spent our evenings following the drama of the Tour de France, and I bought my new road bike. In two weeks, we continue the trend by participating in the Bike The Bay ride, over the Coronado Bridge and around the San Diego Bayshore Bikeway trail.

And to truly turn 2009 into our year of cycling, I’ve signed us up for a Centurty Ride (yep, century = 100 miles) on December 27th. We’ll be riding the Borrego Springs Century out in the eastern San Diego county desert. The December weather there should be pretty nice for riding, and I’ve picked an “easy” century for us to start out on – there’s about 2300 feet of total elevation gain on the ride, but the largest single climb is only about 500 feet elevation gain, something we’ve already surpassed in training. (Well, once anyway. That was last week’s ride to Mt. Soledad in La Jolla, but we couldn’t go into the park because they were having a private ceremony. Good hill-training though!)

So far our longest single ride has been about 26 miles, and I’ve been riding 50-60 miles a week. We’ll start ramping up the mileage in late September after our vacation, with a pre-Century peak of 75 or 80 miles about two weeks before the big ride and at least 800 miles of total riding before then. Yippee!

Might as well end with another picture of the bike that’s going to get me through all those miles:

My Ruby basking in the sunlight

My Ruby basking in the sunlight

 

Exploring Elephant Odyssey August 14, 2009

The San Diego Zoo’s Elephant Odyssey exhibit opened in May, but I didn’t get over to see it until the baby okapi lured me to the zoo a few weeks ago. On one hand, I was excited to see how the new exhibit had turned out after seeing all the construction going on for the past year…on the other, the somewhat cheesy advertising campaign and increasing touristification of the Wild Animal Park over the last few years made me a little bit wary. In the end, I was mostly won-over by the exhibit’s wide-open spaces and integration of animal exhibits, educational info, and play areas . Take a walk with me and see for yourself…

EO is well branded with fun signage

Thanks Harry and Grace!

One of the first things you’ll notice is that Elephant Odyssey is huge! There’s a looong entrance area with EO signs, sponser acknowledgements, and representation of elephant art throughout history:

Ancient elephants wore pants! Who knew?

Ancient elephants wore pants! Who knew?

More ancient elephant art...

This one is an elephant-peacock cross...

Ok, I make fun of the elephant art a bit, but it’s pretty fun. One aspect I was not that fond of? The faux tar pit. There was a section of wall with embedded “fossils” that was pretty cool but didn’t photograph very well, as well as zoo volunteers displaying actual fossils from early California critters, but this tar pit seemed to be trying to hard- it felt like it was already dated after only being on exhibit for three months.

I do not like it, Sam-I-am.

I do not like it, Sam-I-am.

Some of the animals on display, which I don’t have good pictures of (thanks to crowds for some animals, and my lack of a digital SLR with a big lens on the other), were lions – just a thick glass window away from the adoring throngs, and a big improvement from the old lion exhibit; a jaguar, which seemed a little bit less initimidating that it used to because the floor of it’s exhibit was moved from chest-level to floor-level, making the powerful cat appear more diminutive; and California condors, long displayed at the Wild Animal Park but exhibited at the zoo for the frist time. Two young condors were happily hopping around the rocks in their exhibit while an older codor looked on (rolling his eyes at the young whipper-snappers, I imagine).

One of the themes of EO is the ancient animals of Southern California; it’s a popular theme around San Diego these days, as seen in the animal sculptures at Galleta Meadows and exhibits in the Anza Borrego State Park visitors center and a recent exhibit at the Natural History museum. I liked the wall of ancient California animals:

Anicent Inhabitants of San Diego

Anicent Inhabitants of San Diego

Of which the tapir is a particular favorite:

T is for Tapir

T is for Tapir

Just around the bend from this wall, you get your first real glimpse of the massive elephant enclosures:

Elephant enclosure

Elephant enclosure

Guess which animals are in the next enclosure?

Tapir time!

Tapir time!

The tapirs, capybarras, and guanacos (think llamas, but cuter) have a pretty sweet exhibit, with multi-level landscaping and a nice pool. I feel kind of sad for anyone who gets to the exhibit after about 10am though, because I’m pretty sure the tapirs will ALWAYS be napping in the shade, exactly where they were when I saw them:

see the tapirs? they're just inside the cave!

see the tapirs? they're just inside the cave!

Probably if I had an ultra-sweet DSLR with a big lens I could get an OK picture, but I’m afraid that most people won’t get a chance to see the tapirs up-close. It’s hard to count the toes from so far away. At least the guanacos are diurnal:

Guanacos enjoying their new exhibit

Guanacos enjoying their new exhibit

After walking around the tapir exhibit, you get a better view of the elephants:

Elephant!

Elephant!

And then, you can take a picture of yourself as a scientist – there were several different cutouts with various fields of expertise, and even though they were mostly all wearing the same white lab coats, I thought it was a fun concept…

You can be an Extraterrestrial Impact Theorist when you grow up!

You can be an Extraterrestrial Impact Theorist when you grow up!

Carmen is a Climate Change Theorist...not sure what that has to do with Flamingos

Carmen is a Climate Change Theorist...not sure what that has to do with Flamingos

I also liked the way EO exposes the Elephant Barn and care facility to visitors – it’s pretty impressive to see the massive scale of the building:

Elephant Care Center

Elephant Care Center

There was also a stream habitat, with tutles and allegedly forgs and lizards. I thought this was a really fun part of the exhibit, excapt that there are many fake frogs and lizards (not pictured) that have been added to the ladnscaping – it was kind of disappointing to have something catch your eye, only to realize that it was a scuplture instead of a real animal. I don’t think I saw any of the real frogs and lizards, but I did see a couple of turtles.

A cute little turtle...

A cute little turtle...

And another elephant!

imaginary soundtrack: pretent you hear the elephant trumpeting now...

imaginary soundtrack: pretend you hear the elephant trumpeting now...

There was also a fun playground area – there were elephant collars to crawl through, architectural dig scenarios to act out, and an animal X-Ray machine:

Animal X-Rays!

Animal X-Rays!

Overall, I thought it was a fun new exhibit, and I’m looking forward to going back (earlier in the morning when the tapirs are out and it’s less crowded, perhaps), to see how the residents are interacting with their exhibits. And to find the frogs and lizards that I missed in the stream habitat, of course.

 

101 Things In 1001 Days: One Year Later August 9, 2009

It’s been just over a year since I created my 101 Things list, so it seems like a good time to review my progress and update my list – switch out  some of the running goals to reflect this year’s focus on biking, for example, and recognize that the writing section is probably a bit too ambitious, but there are several more cooking projects that I want to try.  Start and end dates remain the same. Check out the revised list below (new goals are green):

Start Date: 8/4/2008

End Date: 5/2/2011

Goals in progress are in blue text.

25% complete as of 8/09/2009

Update 10/18/2009: 29% complete!

Update 01/03/2010: 31% complete!

Running, Sports & Fitness:
1    Run a 5K in under 30 min (best time to date: 34:56, March 2008  )
2   Participate in a bike riding event (Bike The Bay, Aug 2009)
3    Participate in a bike club group ride
4    Try a spinning class (1/21/2009)
5    Ride a Century (100 miles)
6    Do pilates 2x per week for a month
7    Go Kayaking
8    Take rock climbing lessons
9    Swim Laps at My Gym
10    Get A Massage
11    Go horseback riding
12    Go mini-golfing
13    Play tennis 6 times
14    Play table tennis 10 times (8/10/08, 8/17/08, 8/25/08, 11/30/08  )
15    Do 25 consecutive push-ups
Cooking:
16    Make one recipe from every cookbook I own (63 as of 8/4/2008 ) (25 complete as of 1/3/10 )
17    Decorate a Cake
18    Successfully make an Italian Meringue
19    Make homemade marshmallows
20    Make a sourdough starter from scratch (1/3/2010)
21    Create a signature beer drink (8/7/2008 )
22    Create a signature sangria (2/15/2009)
23    Create a signature muddled drink
24    Enter a recipe in a competition
25    Complete four Iron Chef dinners (all dishes featuring a “secret ingredient”)
26    Make my own infused sea salt
27    Make an infused vodka
28    Host a brunch party
29    Make pickles
30    Organize Cooks’ Illustrated Recipes (1/18/2009)
31    Make homemade truffles
32    Grow an herb plant
33    Grow a vegetable plant
34    Make something on our grill (instead of making Chuck cook it!) (10/21/2008)
35    Make chicken noodle soup from scratch
36    Make homemade bagels
37    Make tamales
Blogging & Writing & Reading:
38    Complete a cook-through (or drink-through) blog project
39    Post an entry on BlogHer
40    Write a short story
41    Write a travel essay
42    Write 5 poems
43    Read books so that my “to-read” shelf has <= 10 books
44    Write a mini-cookbook (at least 10 recipes, with pictures)
45    Comment on blogs I read: at least one comment per week for two months(done as of 2/1/2009)
46    Read a mystery novel
47    Put together photo albums for my vacations
48    Make a journal of writing ideas & inspirations
49    Send a secret to PostSecret

Traveling:

50    Hike to the top of Half Dome in Yosemite (in this case, almost counts! 9/16/2008 )
51    Hike a 14′er
52    Take a Beer Tour of Belgium (Sept 2009)
53    Hike the Inca Trail <or> Climb Kilimanjaro
54    Visit the Salton Sea (3/8/2009)
55    Visit a National Park I haven’t been to before
56    Take a backpacking trip, at least two nights (5/24/2009)
57    Visit a US city I’ve never been to before (Austin, 11/16/2008 )
58    Visit a US state I’ve never been to before
59    Visit Anza-Borrego State Park (11/1/2008 )
60    Visit a California Mission I haven’t been to before
61    Visit Catalina Island
62    Visit Pizza Port San Clemente (9/7/2008 )
63    Visit Griffith Observatory (June 2009)
64    See an okapi in a zoo I haven’t been to before
65    Visit a brewery I haven’t been to before (The Bruery! 9/5/2008 )
66    Go to Canada(5/1/2009)
67    Spend a weekend at BigBear (or other ski resort area)
Community:
68    Volunteer for a political campaign (phone-banked for Obama, 11/3/08 )
69    Volunteer on a community project (9/28/2008 )
70    Volunteer at a running (or other sport) event
71    Volunteer on a trail maintenance project
72    Donate $25 to charity/community organizations at least 10 times (KPBS, SDCats)
Music:
73    Finish all the lessons in my piano workbook
74    Learn 5 songs from my ragtime book
75    Take a guitar lesson (UCSD extension, July/Aug 2009)
76    Learn to play 2 songs on the guitar
77    Write a song
78    Join a community choir / singing group
79    Take accordion lessons
Festivals / Events:
80    Go to a film festival (Bicycle Film Festival, Sept 2009)
81    Go to a book signing / author event (done! Ann Patchett on Aug 6, 2008 )
82    Go to the National Sandcastle Competition (July 2009)
83    Go to a food festival (strawberries in Ojai, tamales in Palm Springs, Garlic in Gilroy???)
84    Go to a wine festival
85    Go to a music festival
86    Go to a play (Man From Nebraska, 10/17/09)
87    Go to a musical or opera
88    Go to a parade
Other/Local:
89    See a mainstream movie in a theater (do I really need to make this a goal? Well, yes…13 months and counting since the last time…)
90    See an indie movie in a theater (Race Across the Sky, Oct 2009)
91    Visit a San Diego Museum (6/6/2009)
92    Go to the beach! (Maui, Dec 2009)
93    Visit Chula Vista
94    Visit the San Diego County Fair
95    Go to the Lakeside Rodeo(4/24/2009)
96    Go to 10 new San Diego restaurants (Urban Solace, Toronado, Osteria Romantica, Gulf Coast Grill, Tioli’s Crazee Burger, Cefalu’s, Liar’s Club, Vincenzo Ristorante, Blind Lady Ale House, Pho La Jolla)
Learning:
97    Learn to use photo editing software (counting Picassa for this one, it does what I want)
98    Complete all three levels of “Learn Spanish in Your Car”
99    Take a drawing (or other art) lesson
100    Write an app in a programming language I haven’t used before
101    Learn to snap my fingers

Dropped from the list:

1    Run a 10K
2    Complete a race longer than 10K
3    Take a Cooking Class
4    Go to a conference (professional, BlogHer, ??)
5    Watch three Audrey Hepburn movies I haven’t seen before
6   Take a writing class
7   Write a fantasy story OR create a fantasy universe outline
8   Write 2 book review posts
9   Post a monthly self-portrait (pictures of me that someone else takes are ok)

 

Zoo Babies! August 8, 2009

The San Diego Zoo has some exiting babies these days. A new panda cub was born earlier this week, and while it won’t be on exhibit for a few months, I’ve been keeping an eye on the Panda Cam to try to catch a glimpse – I think I’ve seen it twice so far.

There’s also a two-month old okapi named Sekele who IS on exhibit, so I went to the zoo last week to bask in the baby-okapi-cuteness. Sekele was prancing around the exhibit a bit and trailing his mom as she walked around to the food stations, and I got a good view of them at the acacia hanger nearest to the viewing area.

Sekele near the back of the enclosure

Sekele near the back of the enclosure

Baby okapi hiding in mom's shadow

Baby okapi hiding in mom's shadow

Big stretch to get the acacia

Big stretch to get the acacia

Heading to the back again - check out those stripes!

Heading to the back again - check out those stripes!

This Red River Hog isn’t a zoo baby, but he’s still cute enough for a picture!

Red River Hog

Red River Hog

Across from the Red River Hog, the monkeys and otters are always crowd favorites. As I walked by last weekend, the young monkeys were playing with their biscuits near the water’s edge…

Young mokeys playing with biscuits

Young monkeys playing with biscuits

And one biscuit was stolen by an otter, who sratched it against the wall…

Otter playing with stolen biscuit

Otter playing with stolen biscuit

Some other zoo babies I saw last week were the meerkats, in the exhibit near the kopje. According to the zoo blog, these meerkats were recently moved over from the old Elephant Mesa exhibit – it sounds like quite a hassle to move 16 meerkats!

Digging - it's what meerkats do!

Digging - it's what meerkats do!

Baby meerkat on the run

Baby meerkat about to run

Partners in Crime

Partners in Crime

I also saw two baby giraffes – there was quite a line for giraffe feeding when I walked by, but the babys must be too short to reach over the wall on that section, so they were off at the other end of the exhibit by themselves.

Cuddly baby giraffe! I think he was watching me.

Cuddly baby giraffe! I think he was watching me.

This one was slightly older, but still cute!

This one was slightly older, but still cute!

 

 
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