Archive for April, 2008

Play this game (a little cheesy) of driving a dirt bike around Africa delivering Malaria Nets to individuals in need.

Malaria is one of several curable/preventable deadly diseases that is ravaging Africa. Nothing but Nets has this to say about the disease:

Malaria, from the Medieval Italian words mala aria or “bad air,” infects more than 500 million people a year and kills more than a million— one person dies about every 30 seconds. The disease is particularly devastating in Africa, where it is a leading killer of children.

The disease is a self-perpetuating problem with large-scale impact on societies and economies. Malaria accounts for up to half of all hospital admissions and outpatient visits in Africa. In addition to the burden on the health system, malaria illness and death cost Africa approximately $12 billion a year in lost productivity. The effects permeate almost every sector. Malaria increases school absenteeism, decreases tourism, inhibits foreign investment, and even affects the type of crops that are grown.

Despite the magnitude of the problem, there is a simple and cost-effective solution to prevent malaria deaths. For just $10, we can purchase a bed net, deliver it to a family, and explain its use. Bed nets work by creating a protective barrier against mosquitoes at night, when the vast majority of transmissions occur. A family of four can sleep under an insecticide-treated bed net, safe from malaria, for up to four years. The benefits of bed nets extend even further than the family. When enough nets are used, the insecticide used to deter mosquitoes makes entire communities safer—including even those individuals who do not have nets.

Although $10 for a bed net may not sound like much, the cost makes them out of reach for most people at risk of malaria, many of whom survive on less than $1 a day. Nets are a simple, life-saving solution, but we need your help to provide them to those in need.

You can make a monetary contribution or play their game. This is a partnership created by the United Nations foundation.

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This is the last post about our camping trip!

As Saturday night came to a close we were enjoying a nice campfire, complete with s’mores and ho-bo pies. All of a sudden we started to get pelted by hail, sleet, rain, or snow… we quickly cleaned up the remainders of the evening and put everything away before heading up to the welcome center to get ready for bed.

There we met the evening janitor who told us they were expecting several inches of snow through the evening and that heavy snow like this would often collapse tents. GREAT! We also saw a skunk hoping around looking for food! We made our way back to the campsite and realized we needed to make some adjustments to get the tent ready for the “storm”. We spent a couple of hours trying to sleep but also knocking snow off the roof! (top left picture)

I’m happy to report that the tent didn’t collapse and we got about 1-2 inches of snow. The wind was terrible and would shake the tent, making you wonder if the tent was going to blow away or collapse around you! (top middle picture)

Go back and look at pictures of the Lake and beach from Saturday – see how different everything is today? I’m not sure what the wind speeds were or the official amounts of snow – it wasn’t fun! It was very cold and we weren’t ready for the wind-chill. (bottom pictures)

I’ll go ahead and finish off the day in this post. We packed up camp and headed out for breakfast in Two Harbors. Same town as yesterday and also the starting point of Grandma’s Marathon.

We unwittingly followed the Grandma’s Marathon course from Two Harbors to Duluth. It is a beautiful drive and I would think a great marathon experience except for the June sun. It was quite cold for our drive and quick jumps out for pictures!

The top right is a set of boats that were all together on the shore – shipwrecked. Going around clock-wise is the Aerial Bridge in Duluth.

Next is the original, famous Grandma’s Saloon & Grill. Grandma’s is also the title sponsor of the marathon and some really good food!

The next picture is actually of the Duluth Airport – well actually its the Sky Harbor Airport, perfect for float planes! You can barely see the airport and its “boat ramp”. We went out on this little island and saw some cool stuff – but very windy and nasty conditions didn’t make it overly enjoyable.

The final, center picture is us out on the canal’s pier/lighthouse. I can’t find an official name but it marks one side of the entrance to the Duluth port. It was bitter cold with stinging wind coming off the Lake. We almost got attacked by a crashing wave, but survived!

That pretty much wraps up our weekend adventure! It was a great time. If you want to see more pictures and the ones in the collages a little better feel free to visit the complete album. I still only published half the pictures I took!

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This is the final part of beautiful Saturday!

We drove into Two Harbors to get some supplies and check out their lighthouses.

Wasn’t really a lot to see but there were 2 ships in port loading or unloading stuff and the top photos are all from that area. The lighthouse on the top right is also a B&B.

The other pictures are from Split Rock Lighthouse State Park(note the 2 different links). Sadly the lighthouse is under going construction restoration during the winter months and should be completed in the middle of May. It was a weird set of scaffolding that went around it. There were some more breathtaking views from the Lighthouse so it was still worth stopping by and seeing.

This concludes the first day of our camping trip :)

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This third collage of pictures is from our lunch at Lake Superior. This is actually part of the beach at the State Park, where pictures from part 1 were taken! This wasn’t too fancy of a lunch since we had carried it in our packs all morning. It was still some good food though and we had fun warming ourselves on the rocks. It is amazing the temperature difference from being in the woods to being on the exposed rocks next to the Lake with all the wind!

I think most of these pictures are self-explanatory. But the upper left one was taken from the Visitor’s Center looking towards the Lake and you can see the river below. The one right next to that is a similar shot without the river. The top right picture is actually the Gooseberry River – hard to believe since it doesn’t look like it is flowing very fast at this point. And yes there were signs along the side of the river here saying it wasn’t a good idea to swim, but there was a campsite along the river for Kayakers.

The beach was beautiful with the calm water and touches of snow!

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I took about 150 pictures during our weekend trip to Gooseberry Falls! So the series of posts is just a selection of the best, I turned them into collages to take up less bandwidth and stuff. It was so hard to decide on pictures and I got a little carried away with this one! These are pictures of our hike up the Gooseberry River to see several of the falls.

This one is going to be a little harder to describe – but I’ll start at the top since that’s the beginning! The Upper, Lower, and Middle Falls are pretty accessible and the Middle and Lower are actually handicap accessible so this was a quick jaunt from the Visitor’s Center.

The top three are all taken at the Middle Falls. The falls had a lot of water flowing through them from snow melt and were even still frozen at some points. Which added some extra beauty – despite the dark brown water!

The one on the right, above the lettering is the Upper Falls which is the one we had the best angle at before walking around to be right above it! There was a pretty sweet bridge which you can see below the picture of the two of us! And yes those are our feet dangling over the edge of the waterfall! We did something similar while in Colorado on our honeymoon!

The next pictures are of random stuff along the mile hike to the Fifth Falls. Those are large ice junks floating down the river. Kristofer is trying to break one but broke his stick several times, before giving up!

We finally made it to the Fifth Falls which weren’t overly spectacular but still cool. There was another bridge that went over the top of them. And Christy’s was standing on the railing trying to get a better view!!

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On the first weekend of April we thought we could pull off a camping trip with good friends Amy and Kristofer. We packed up the bags and car and took off North! We drove a couple hours ending at Gooseberry Falls, just north of Duluth, right on Lake Superior. We knew it would be tent camping with no water. We ended up being the only campers for the weekend.

The next several posts will highlight the trip with photographs. I’ll try to provide some commentary along the way! This first part shows (starting bottom left going counter-clockwise) our campsite with the tent pitched. Our tent wasn’t actually on any snow although it was pretty much all around the campsite. It got into the 30’s at night but Saturday ended up in the upper-40’s if not 50’s.

Next is Christy and Kristofer cooking breakfast over the open-fire! We ended up having to cook all our meals this way because the stove wasn’t working properly.

This little squirrel was quite friendly and was scampering about for several minutes. He liked my tevas which were just sitting on the rock. It was funny to watch him run around.

The next several highlight the scenic views of Lake Superior. We were about a quarter of a mile from the Lake on one side which was all rock cliffs and some great viewing and about a 1/2 mile away from the actual beach which was also some great views. The snow on the rock faces was amazing. It was so cool to see how the water had just frozen and hadn’t melted yet. These were all on the north face of the rocks which is why there is still so much snow!

The middle top is actually a picture looking down the Gooseberry River towards the Lake.

Definitely some beautiful scenery… and we haven’t left the campground area yet!

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Sorry for the all caps – that is how it was written. I think someone forgot to tell the weather that it is spring now!

URGENT – WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE TWIN CITIES/CHANHASSEN MN
956 PM CDT WED APR 9 2008

…HEAVY SNOW AND STRONG WINDS LIKELY ACROSS PARTS OF THE REGION
THURSDAY AFTERNOON THROUGH FRIDAY NIGHT…

.A WINTER STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FOR A PORTION OF
CENTRAL AND SOUTHWEST MINNESOTA FROM THURSDAY AFTERNOON THROUGH
SATURDAY MORNING. THE WARNING BEGINS AT 1 PM FOR WEST CENTRAL AND
SOUTHWEST MINNESOTA INCLUDING THE COMMUNITIES OF APPLETON…
CANBY…REDWOOD FALLS…HUTCHINSON AND ST. CLOUD. THE WARNING
BEGINS AT 7 PM FURTHER TO THE NORTH IN CENTRAL MINNESOTA…INCLUDING
ALEXANDRIA…LITTLE FALLS…AND MORA.

A WINTER STORM WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT TO THE EAST AND SOUTH OF
THE WARNING AREA AND INCLUDES PORTIONS OF SOUTHERN AND EASTERN
MINNESOTA AND THE HIGHWAY 8 CORRIDOR IN WEST CENTRAL WISCONSIN.
THE WATCH INCLUDES THE COMMUNITIES OF FAIRMONT…THE TWIN CITIES
METROPOLITAN AREA…RICE LAKE AND LADYSMITH.

HEAVY SNOWFALL IS EXPECTED ACROSS CENTRAL THROUGH SOUTHWEST AREAS
OF MINNESOTA BEGINNING THURSDAY AFTERNOON AND LASTING THROUGH
FRIDAY. THE PRECIPITATION MAY BEGIN AS A PERIOD OF RAIN AND
SNOW…BUT A QUICK TRANSITION TO ALL SNOW IS EXPECTED.

THERE REMAINS UNCERTAINTY ON THE EXACT PRECIPITATION TYPE
THURSDAY AFTERNOON AND NIGHT IN PORTIONS OF EASTERN AND SOUTHERN
MINNESOTA…INCLUDING THE TWIN CITIES METROPOLITAN AREA…AS WELL
AS THE HIGHWAY 8 CORRIDOR IN WEST CENTRAL WISCONSIN. THE
PRECIPITATION IN THESE AREAS MAY OSCILLATE BETWEEN RAIN AND SNOW
THURSDAY EVENING BEFORE CHANGING TO ALL SNOW DURING THE EARLY
MORNING HOURS ON FRIDAY. ADDITIONAL ACCUMULATING SNOW IS THEN
EXPECTED ON FRIDAY.

BY FRIDAY NIGHT…SNOWFALL ACCUMULATIONS FROM 6 TO 12 INCHES ARE
ANTICIPATED IN THE WARNING AREA WITH HIGHER AMOUNTS POSSIBLE.
WITHIN THE WATCH AREA…SNOWFALL ACCUMULATIONS COULD REACH 6
INCHES OR MORE.

IN ADDITION TO THE SNOWFALL ACCUMULATIONS…THERE WILL BE
INCREASING WIND FROM THE NORTHEAST. THIS WILL CAUSE CONSIDERABLE
BLOWING SNOW AND POOR VISIBILITY IN OPEN AREAS THURSDAY NIGHT
AND FRIDAY.

THE HEAVY SNOW IS IN RESPONSE TO A LOW PRESSURE SYSTEM MOVING
NORTHEAST FROM THE SOUTHERN PLAINS. THE LOW PRESSURE SYSTEM IS
FORECAST TO REACH SOUTHERN WISCONSIN BY EARLY SATURDAY.

A WINTER STORM WARNING MEANS SIGNIFICANT AMOUNTS OF SNOW…
SLEET…AND ICE ARE EXPECTED OR OCCURRING. STRONG WINDS ARE ALSO
POSSIBLE. THIS WILL MAKE TRAVEL VERY HAZARDOUS OR IMPOSSIBLE.
CONSIDERING THE LATE SEASON NATURE OF THIS STORM…ENSURE YOU AND
YOUR FAMILY ARE STILL PREPARED FOR WINTER WEATHER.

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