Wednesday, June 29, 2005

The famed Jump-Roll:

There are many tricks you can do while tubing behind a boat. The simplest is a jump across the wake. More complex moves are barrel rolls and jumping over another tube. A barrel roll is accomplished while being whipped around a corner by the boat. You must lay on your tube and when you have a lot of angular momentum you simply fall off the outside of the tube, bounce off your back, hold on tight, and pull yourself back up when you come around. The faster you are being whipped, the easier and quicker it is to get your body around. It is also less painful if you know how to do it because you can just quickly skip off the water without as much drag. Of course, there is the potential of botching it and crashing at high speeds.

Jumping over another tuber is a great trick. You must be able to jump at least 18" off the water and you need very good timing. The trick is especially easy with a good driver and a good "set-up man." The set up man must drag his leg and stay in the wake while the driver whips the jumper out of the wake. If the driver knows what they are doing, they'll give the jumper a nudge back toward the wake and the jumper simply has jump high as he gets to the inside of the wake. Without a good "set-up man" jumping someone takes a lot more skill. You have to wait for a chance when one tuber is moving quickly toward the other and jump, usually off of flat water, over the other tuber.

Finally, we come to the most advanced trick by far. It is the jump-roll. This trick requires great skill, balance, and guts. A great driver is also essential. The tuber must first be whipped well out of the wake so that he can have a lot of angular momentum as he goes across the wake. As he hits the wake he has to simultaneously jump off his knees and whip the tube over his head. Once in the air, the tuber must keep control of the tube, complete the rotation, and land right-side-up on the tube. The guts factor comes in when you think of what you are really doing. The best speed for doing tricks on a tube is 26-28 mph. However, to do a jump roll, you also must be flying at the wake at greater than 15 mph. The combined velocity at launch is very high and you must force your body to do some blind contortions in mid air. Needless to say, there is a great potential for pain if the trick is not successful. Below is a picture of an attempted jump-roll.

On this particular attempt, the tube made it all the way around but I lost control of myself in the air and ended up in a funny position, landing on my side next to the tube.

I personally have never successfully landed a jump-roll. In about 10 attempts I have found varying success. In the next few weeks I will attempt the jump roll behind Jason's boat, which has a tower and creates a bigger wake. The tower makes jumping easier, as does a big wake, so I should have more air time to complete the rotation. The only tuber I know who is a master of the jump roll is Evan Steensma. Somehow he can do it; I don't know how, but he's awesome.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

So Close!!! Last night Erin, Michael, Jenny and I played 9 holes at Egypt Valley. Jenny's employment there is priceless. I had a below average round as I double-bogeyed most of the holes. I either took a penalty stroke, or botched my approach shot on almost every hole. But the 7th hole offered some hope. It is a 145 yard par 3 with a narrow green and an absolute cliff directly off the left edge of the green. The pin was 3 strides from the front of the green so playing very difficult. I teed up and took a nice soft swing with my 7-iron. It felt great, and started just right of the hole with a little draw. We saw it thud in front of the pin and start rolling at it. From 145 yards away it looked like it stopped right next to the cup! When we arrived at the green we saw my ball sitting about 18 inches past the cup. From where the ball mark was, it looked like my ball slowly rolled within 2 inches of a hole-in-one! The birdie putt was very slippery and downhill and rolled all the way around the cup before falling in. Good thing I was only 18 inches away.
Birdie #40 lifetime.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

The house warming party was great. About 20 people came over and I cooked burgers and hot dogs. Others brought chip dip, salsa, lots of chips, veggies, and a whole bunch of other stuff.

The reason we decided to have a party in the first place was because my friend Manuel was getting married on Saturday. Manuel, aka Frodo, was on my team (of 3 people) for our chemical engineering senior design project. So we spent lots of time together in school. 4 of the 6 2004 ChemEs made it to the party. Me, Eric, Derek, and Dan.

Eric, the other member of that team made the trip up from South Bend and brought the most fun and the most exhausting video game...Dance, Dance, Revolution. We hooked it up and people of all skill levels took a shot. I was excited to beat Eric head-to-head on one occasion but he won the season series.

Amy and Melissa gave it a shot,

Jason and Melissa were definately newbies. This time they made it about 20% of the way through one of the dances before losing.

Gotta have games. Hoopla and Catchphrase were the games of choice. Despite the fact that you have to play as a team in hoopla, its actually a really fun party game.

The wedding was good. The only down side was that Saturday was about 90 degrees and the reception was on the 3rd floor of an unairconditioned building. The fans on the dance floor made dancing possible.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Shall we begin?

After our San Francisco trip, I thought it would be convenient to start up my very own weblog and post some of the good pictures for all to see. My goal will be to post at least once a week with some tidbit and/or new pictures each time.

Erin and I flew out to SF on June 12 and had Monday (June 13) to ourselves before my class started on tuesday. We decided to do a Wine tour that included seeing a few SF monuments and stopping in Muir woods before wine tasting in the afternoon.

We stopped at the palace of fine arts in the morning. Our guide said that whole area was built with the intention to tear it all down. It had something to do with building up the city after the 1906 earthquake and in preparation of a major fair around 1915. The rest of the area was indeed torn down afterward but there was enough public outcry about the palace of fine arts that they let it stand. You can see why:

On the way out to Muir woods we crossed the golden gate bridge and had a great view:

There are 2 types of sequoia trees in california, coastal and giant. Both can only survive in very particular environments and the coastal only reside in a small area around the bay. About 95% of them were cut down for lumber but fortunately one man bought up a section of land in the early 1900s and had the president name it a National Monument so that some trees would be preserved. They are the tallest trees in the world and reach well over 300 feet.

Finally, we spent the afternoon wine tasting at 3 different wineries. There are literally 100s of small family wineries in the Sonoma and Napa valleys. Most are so small that they only sell out of their wine tasting room and on the internet. Some are larger operations and distribute their wine to retailers. We both preffered the white wines over red and ended up buying 4 bottles.

On the drive back to SF we stopped in Saucaledo, a really, really expensive place to live. It lies in Marin county, supposedly the most expensive county in the US. The houses ran in the $1-$30 million range. They did have some nice views.

For the remainder of the trip we went to a number of the famous SF sights. Coit tower offers some great views of the city.

Of course there is Alcatraz

Erin loved the sea lions in fisherman's wharf. They were very active and funny to watch. They were always playing 'king of the raft.'

One morning I did a 10 mile run from our hotel to the other side of the golden gate bridge and back. It was awesome, although I did have to get up at 5:30. It was a crystal clear morning and a park runs along the bay to the bridge so I had a great course. A couple days later Erin and I took the bus to the bridge and walked across it. This time it was very windy and rained at times, but still fun.

Then there is Lombard Street, supposedly the "world's crookedest street." (which I definately don't believe)

Great city, great week.