How will you spend your tax refund?

Associated Press: "(Consumers are) so anxious that the number who say they are planning to take a vacation is the weakest in 30 years.

The average American spends 13 days on vacation each year. Take away a couple three day weekends and an obligatory family visit and it doesn't leave much time for exploring, for the outdoors, and for adventure.

But with employers cutting hours, carbon fumes from commuters stinking up the planet, and stress/bad news all around us ... it seems like taking a vacation would actually be a pretty good idea right now.

Imagine checking out for a while, getting away from the news, the politics, the endless CNN stream, and allowing your mind to focus on a different part of the planet.

KE Adventure Travel has "late availability" trips leaving as soon as next weekend for Peru, Sicily, Crete and Nepal, among many others.

Maybe that tax cut can provide a dividend of another kind.

PR tip of the day: Justice Antonin Scalia

After finishing a contentious interview on 60 Minutes, merely finish with the comment: "Well, that's my view, and it happens to be correct."

LINK: Dickipedia, currently without Scalia

Wicked Outdoorsy ‘Spring of Meat’


Surf Maine:
The Kennebunk-based Aquaholics Surf Shop offers surf lessons starting April 1 with all the necessary equipment provided. Before you say, “that’s not manly, that’s just crazy,” you should know your instructor will be a woman.
Wicked Outdoorsy Sausage Scale: 8. LINK

Ski Tuckerman’s Ravine: The quintessential backcountry skiing and riding spot heats up when warmer temps arrive in New Hampshire. With a variety of seriously steep terrain, some maxing out at 90º, the adventure begins with a three-mile hike from Pinkham Notch, followed by a ton of hiking, just to reach a few minutes of glory. Definitely not for beginners.
Wicked Outdoorsy Sausage Scale: 7 LINK


Raft the Dead River:
As this winter’s record snow pack turns from white to whitewater, the local whitewater guides at Northern Outdoors are expecting the Dead’s legendary rapids to be the biggest in the resort’s 32-season history.
Wicked Outdoorsy Sausage Scale: 9.5 LINK

Blast Vermont turkeys: Home to New England’s most robust turkey population, Vermont will declare open season on these wild birds from May 1-31.
Wicked Outdoorsy Sausage Scale: 7 LINK

Hang with Larry the Cable Guy: Sitting through Larry’s 2-hour set at the Cumberland County Civic Center (Portland, Maine) will require bravery, strength, and endurance.
Wicked Outdoorsy Sausage Scale: 5 LINK


Catch stripers on the fly:
Hosted by the Martha’s Vineyard Rod & Gun Club, the annual Fly Rod Striped Bass Catch & Release Tournament is never cancelled, forcing eager anglers to fish through rain, wind and bad early season baseball.
Wicked Outdoorsy Sausage Scale: 6.5 LINK

Formula 1 racing in Montreal: F1 fans from all over the world will bring their mullets to Montreal on June 8 to see some of the world’s most talented drivers race for the checkered flag. Oh, we’ve heard Cuban cigars are legal in Canada.
Wicked Outdoorsy Sausage Scale: 6LINK


May 14 is Yak to Work Day

Great day for a run.



Maybe I will start running more this summer.

I think I'm definitely going to start running more.

Good tune.

Love the Stones.

I feel strong.

I wonder if my legs look really pale.

Black is a cool color.

I'm going to run every other day, I think.

Should I turn around here?

No cars. Go.

Actually, I bet I look strong.

I should run faster.

I'm going to add a mile down route 100

Will that be a mile?

It's Sunday morning.

No one will be driving.

Yes, take route 100.

Another good tune.

I love my Ipod.

What the fuck is that?

That's the hairiest cow I've ever seen.

Is that a yak?

Oh my God, it is a yak.

Those horns look really sharp.

I should definitely run faster.

Is he snorting at me?

I hope that fence is electrified.

Do yaks run faster than humans?

I bet if i cross the road he'll stop snorting and pacing.

Man, this is a long pasture.

That electric fence looks kind of low.

Can yaks jump an electric fence?

I can't remember the last time I saw a yak.

Can you milk a yak?

I bet it's hard to find the udder under all that hair.

If that thing gets out, I'm definitely going to arm up.

Can you kill a yak with a shotgun?

They better be tasty.

LINK: Vermont Yak Company

Good news, bad news

Thanks to Catalog Choice, our mailbox no longer overflows with unwanted, non-outdoorsy, totally distracting mailers like Victoria's Secret.

The good news is that we still get Athleta.


I see recycling people

I read a few days ago (LINK) that many facilities which accept #7 plastic do not actually recycle them, but just take them to make it easier on their customers. Do you actually recycle #7 plastics in Chittenden County?

"Dear Drew

"The ban on that type of plastic in Canada does not affect recycling markets, or our current ability to recycle that material, here in the U.S. and specifically here in Chittenden County.

"We recycle all the materials that we say we recycle. We have about a 5% waste rate at the Materials Recovery Facility, where all blue-bin recyclables go, and that’s mostly material that people mistakenly/incorrectly put into their blue bins that should go elsewhere.

"If such a ban is enacted in the U.S., and if it affected our markets (some of which are overseas, which could help insulate from the effects of a ban here), then yes, we would not be able to recycle that material. Should that come about, we would stop accepting the material, and make sure the public was aware of it.

"We have no interest in promoting or adopting the type of bait-and-switch tactics that supposedly garner more material by lying about what is actually recycled. It’s good for you to be aware that it happens and to take the trouble to make sure for yourself that it isn’t happening here.

Thanks for the question."

LINK: Chittenden Co. Recyling Drop-off Centers


Vermont's Chittenden County recycles polycarbonate water bottles

Thanks for the tip, Andy.

LINK: Northwest Vermont's recycling drop-off locations


Now, it is spring. Still small islands of snow in the north-facing pockets of his Cabot estate, but everywhere else, the green-brown of winter-killed field and forest. Last week, he skied twice and rode his bicycle four times, an Olympian week by the recent standards of his athletic life.

Always, he feels the pull at this time of year: There’s the desire to play, to spin the pedals for hours at a time, lost in the trance of the road or trail and the feel of his skin tightening under the hard April sun. And there’s the need to attend to the particulars of the farm: Yesterday, for instance, he tore down an old chicken fence, transplanted 50-raspberry plants, planted peas, and harvested firewood. Then, he had lunch.

There is no economic justification for his toil. If he were a thinking man, he’d give it up, buy his food at the food store, install an oil-burning furnace, kick back a bit. Ride his bike. But he’s always run on instinct and feel. Maybe this lack of rationale is merely proof of a life’s passion. Or maybe, as his wife so often suggests, it’s more evidence of his stubborn nature, his pig-headed approach to a world that vexes him no end.

Today, he’ll fix the cow’s fence. Tomorrow, maybe, he’ll ride.

What will you do with your useless polycarbonate water bottle?

If you're lucky ... like me ... then you're past puberty and have no breasts (that you're willing to admit to, anyway) therefore you're not at risk for any possible side effects from the BPA in your groovy little water bottle.

If you're not so lucky, then you probably spent last weekend sorting through your fairly hefty collection of shwag sippy cups from the last couple decades of trade shows looking for a number 7 on the bottom. (Note: If you didn't make Nalgene or Nalgene-knock-off shwag in recent years, then you probably weren't paying attention ... the items were crazy cheap, super-popular, and even bad logos looked great on the side. Ironically, the "green" angle of using them instead of throwaway water bottles was their primary draw.)

So, sitting there with a couple dozen non-recyclable polycarbonate water bottles that allegedly leach BPA into water, even at room temperature, it probably struck you in the cranium like an 11th hour Pennsylvania Primary slam ad ...

Throwing these things away is probably just as bad as drinking out of them. If they leach into casual drinking water, what will they do if we throw a couple hundred thousand of them into a landfill?

One brilliantly sad suggestion online is to donate them to a homeless shelter, apparently the same one that accepts lead paint and exploding mobile phones.

There's got to be a better way.


Worry-free hydration

Chances are, that cute little water bottle you've been toting around for the last few years is hazardous to your health.

Not every plastic water bottle carries the same risk. But if it shows a "7" on the bottom, you should chuck it.

LINK: Your water bottle IS dangerous


Made in China

I sat down to sip my morning joe, wrapped in comfort in my Chinese-made fleece bathrobe, and checked the day's news on my trusty Macintosh, which was made in China.

From my comfy spot on our Chinese-made couch, I saw the morning sun glint off of the kids' bikes laying in the yard, both of which were made in China. Their Chinese-made helmets were also in the yard, glowing with sheen of last night's hard frost. Seeing the bike gear reminded me that I would need to throw some Chinese-made wax on our Chinese-made skis this weekend before storing them for the season.

I chuckled when I read the news about the Bush foreign policy aide that condemned the possible boycott of the Beijing opening ceremonies, referring to Tibet as "Nepal" at least a half dozen times in the interview. Silly old Bushies.

Two days ago, I met a few Tibetans on the front step of the Red Hen bakery in Middlesex. They had walked from Burlington the day before, camped there, and then were heading to the Capitol steps to add their own voice to the growing protest over Chinese occupation.

Living in a Chinese-made world, it seems disingenuous to choose this moment to support the Tibetan cause without examining our own contribution to their calamity.

On the other hand, maybe that's exactly what we should be doing.

LINK: 35 censored videos of Tibetan protests