Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Vacation in Kentucky

Well, I'm more than a month late posting this, but we had a great time visiting family in Kentucky and spending some time on the lake.

Eli is such a great little traveler, we flew on an unscheduled Southwest Airlines flight because they only let you change planes twice on a scheduled flight. To get from Lubbock to Louisville we had to change planes 3 times going and coming so we used some rapid reward tickets and with some very quick connections the flights all turned out great. Eli even managed to catch a few Z's on one of the flights.

After some family visiting, we went with one of my brother's down to Dale Hollow lake which is right on the border between Kentucky and Tennessee. You actually drive into Tennessee to go the Marina where his boat(s) are. He just purchased a new 58' house boat and hasn't sold his smaller one yet so we were able to pack a bunch of folks on them. I think there were 15 of us there for supper one night.

Here's a picture of the boats parked in a cove. We had a lot of fun and spent a lot of time just relaxing. We spent some time knee boarding (and I either cracked a rib or pulled a muscle as it still hurts a little even over a month later) and the highlight for me was doing some diving. My brother has a subsurface air delivery setup where the air compressor floats on a inner tube and you are hooked up with a 100' long air hose. We dove along the bottom of the cove we were in and it was pretty neat. Between the 2 of us we recovered 2 boat anchors, 5 swim masks, a snorkel, 6 golf balls, and ended up picking up a 32 gallon trash can full of beer cans and bottles from off the bottom. It averaged about 30' deep and there was a thermocline at about 25' so it was pretty interesting going from the cold water down deep to the warm water when you surfaced to get rid of the items you had collected.

Here's a picture of me after unloading my catch. My brother is diving at the end of the other air line and my nieces are snorkeling above where he is diving.Overall we had a great trip and it was really good to see my brothers and sisters who live there. I'm WAY behind on my blog and I'm going to try to get it caught up over the next week or so.

That's it for now though. Nathan

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

New pair of boots!

Well, another riveting post coming up on buying a new pair of boots!

My previous experience with boots was to always buy the cheap ones for $40 and then end up wearing running shoes because they hurt my feet.

2 years ago I upgraded to a pair of Irish Setter Shadow Trek's, and a pair of Rocky Stalker's. They were a big improvement, but the Irish Setters leaked and tore up pretty quickly and the Rocky's did pretty well, but are nearing the end of their useful life.

Reading through some of the posts on some hunting and hiking forums I found that there are several brands of boots that I had never even heard of that are considered the cream of the crop. Kenetek, Lowa, Hanwag, Asolo, Meindl, etc. The common denominator in these boots are that they are all made in Germany or Italy. They are also all pretty expensive!

After a ton of research I ended up buying a pair of Lowa Ranger GTX's on sale and then went to Cabelas in Fort Worth over the 4th of July weekend and tried them on along with a pair of Meindl Denalis.

Here is a picture with both boots side by side. The Meindl Denali is an 8" boot and the Lowa Ranger is a 6 1/2" boot. The 8" boot is what I'm used to in a hunting boot and really seemed to support my ankles, the 6 1/2" boot was at just the wrong height for me.

Here's the Lowa Ranger:
Here's the Meindl Denali:
I ended up deciding on the Denalis simply because they fit me better. The Lowas actually appeared to be better constructed with stronger eyehooks and thicker leather and a better sole, but when you are going to spend hundreds of miles in a pair of boots, how they fit is a pretty important part of the puzzle. It's not like the Meindl's were poorly constructed by any means, they appear to be a very nicely made boot and hopefully they will serve me for many years to come.

Another interesting thing was that I ended up buying a wide boot in the Meindl Denali. Usually I wear a regular width, but the Meindl's must run narrow because the wide width fit just right. Another nice thing about the high end boots is that you can try them out (they prefer you stick to carpet inside your house) and if you don't like them you can return them with no questions asked.

I got the Lowa Ranger's at http://www.footwearoutfitters.net/ and would highly recommend them to anyone looking for some top notch boots. I really wanted to like them, but the lower boot just wasn't what I was looking for. They are coming out with the Lowa Ranger in an 8" boot within a month, but I'm ready to quit shopping and get started putting the miles on mine. I think I'll be happy with the Meindl Denali.

I'm thinking that by the end of the year I will have between 150 and 200 miles on them so it should be a pretty good test. If I think of it I'll post an update on how well they are doing. My first test for them will be hiking at camp in Montana the first of August.

Well, that's about it for now. I'm sure everyone was on the edge of their seat worried about which boot I was going to end up buying!