Travel, Travel and Archery Practice

The last competitive 3D tournament I shot was last years Virginia IBO State Championship. I won. Then, I put down my 3D rig and concentrated on 18 meters. Since then, we’ve moved and I’ve shot in a number of tournaments all of which were not 3D. Last week I shot on a 3D course other than mine for fun. I shot a 198. Not spectacular.

Flooding near the house we rented in Woodstock, VA. By near I mean about 300 feet away
On the beach at Watch Hill, RI

The past two weeks we’ve traveled as far north as Watch Hill, RI. During that trip we drove through pasts of Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginal, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. It was a long trip. This week we spent 3 days at Brenda’s dad’s lake house in Tignal, Georgia.

We heard this is the home of a big time country singer.

Needless to say, archery has taken a hit. Practice while we were on the road ‘up north’ didn’t happen. Once we returned to Good Hope and before heading to Tignal I got practice in at home. At Ray’s house, Brenda’s dad (my-father-in-law), I got plenty of practice on his range.

Practice range at Ray’s

His range is simple, one set of targets he uses for practicing with his crossbow. I used it to work on yardage. When we left Ray’s and returned home I went to my 3D range to take a practice run at a 20-target ASA style tournament.

Last year I went back to a hunter class rig. That means pins and a short stabilizer like I’d use when actually hunting. While top 3D shooters all seem to prefer field target style rigs I like a hunting arrangement for 3D. At some point I may switch back to long stabilizers and a scope for now I am happy with my Elite 35 set up for hunting.

Mt Elite 35 hunting set-up

What I wanted to measure today is how I am fairing at unknown distances. Prior practices have included a range finder. Today I estimated yardage that ranged from 14 yards (mosquito target) to 42 yards (a standing deer). The average yardage was 27, which included several small targets shot from 14 to 18 yards (mosquito, bobcat sizes). If I removed the small target short shots the average distance was 33 yards.

At most ASA style tournaments I don’t expect to see a lot of backyard type targets. Oh, there will be a javelina at 35 to 40 yards and I have a javelina that I practice shooting at that distance. There’s also a badger that I shoot from 20 to 40 yards because it is likely to appear during competition. What I don’t have are the newer spotted cats or very large targets. Hopefully, my target sponsor will send me a few of those soon. (Wait, I don’t have a target sponsor. Guess those free targets aren’t heading my way after all.)

When I finished practice and tallied my points I’d failed to maintain a 10-point per target average. I shot an average of 9.5. I botched a coyote landing a 5 at 30 yards. It happens.

The short shots helped with my average. If I removed them my average dropped to 9.01 points per arrow. There is work to do before next weekends ASA State Qualifier.

38 Hours

We’re nearly all packed for our move to Georgia. The movers load our furniture and boxes on Friday. They can’t get our “stuff” to us until the 22nd through 24th of January. Really bad timing for archery.

We’d anticipated being in our new home by the end of December. Hurricane Irma put the builders behind schedule. The time infringement is now on archery practice and a few major archery tournaments coming up in February. Oh well, that’s how it goes.

We’re still in our house here in North Carolina for the next 38 hours or so. There’s not a dish unpacked. We’re eating off the china we in our Winnebago for camping. Today, 100% of my archery equipment was packed. I shot three arrows at 18-meters before I disassembled my bow – hit a 10 and two nines. Yesterday, when no one was noticing I slipped away for a decent practice. But, that’s it for a while.

Hopefully, I can get some practice in while we’re in Georgia waiting to moving into our new house. We’ll be staying with our daughter and her family until our “stuff” arrives. She’s only 10 miles away from the new place. And she’s close to Ace Archery in Social Circle. There may be a number of, “Has anyone seen David?” “No, and his truck is gone,” moments while we wait out the arrival of our possessions.  Then, there’s bond to be a, “Where have you been,” inquiry.

The house here still hasn’t sold. We had two offers this past week but both were too weak to accept. The second was close and we referred a counter offer to the potential buyer.

Until it sales, I plan to continue to come back and forth in the camper and enjoy some trips to the Little River and the Outer Banks. Who knows, if it isn’t too much of a burden to make the drive we may just keep North Carolina house as a vacation home. It is why we bought it in the first place.

In the meantime, I am anxious to get archery practice back on track.

 

Another Long Road Trip

We’ve been on the road, again, for about two weeks. During this trip we camped at Dan Nicholas Park in Salisbury, NC, Elijah Clarke State Park in Georgia, Skidaway Island State Park, also Georgia and finally Cheraw State Park in South Carolina. It was a long haul. But, the little Winnebago did fine.

Campsite at Elijah Clarke State Park

When I say the Winnebago did fine, that is to say only a couple of pieces fell off during the trip. Fortunately, no major parts were lost. One of the bumper caps blew away during the last leg of the drive and we had a bolt that secures an electrical receptacle fall off. Both are replaceable.

Really neat place to run at Cheraw State Park in South Carolina

 

Trails out tat Skidaway Island

The primary reason for the trip was my nephew’s wedding. The wedding was nice and the reception was wonderful. It felt really good to be around so many “Lain” family members. Brenda and I were even included in the rehearsal dinner, were we only knew the other Lains. Heck, my brother, Chris and father of the groom knew only a few more people than did I. But, it wasn’t his wedding and that’s to be expected.

There are some very pretty placed to run off road. This at Cheraw State Park in South Carolina

Before we reached Savannah, where the wedding was held and were we camped on Skidaway Island we stopped for about a week at Elijah Clarke State Park. There we met up with our youngest daughter and her family. Our older daughter drove over from Watkinsville, GA and we had a nice little family get together for several days.

End of a trail at Skidaway Island.

Much of that time was, sadly, devoted to getting the A/C repaired on the truck.

Walking a trail with two of my grand children.

When I could find some free time I did get to practice archery, ride a bike a run. Running was the highlight of sports activities. The trails at the State Parks were simply astonishing.

Running over marsh land at Skidaway Island

It was a long trip. It is good to be home.

View at Elijah Clarke State Park

Coming to a Close of Vacation

A weeklong break from “sports” has come to a close. It has ended in Tignal, Ga. To facilitate the forth coming ramp up to full activity here in Georgia there is a bike, running gear, a Mathews Apex 7 and half a dozen Black Eagle arrows. There is a range for archery, trails to run, and miles of open road to ride. There was also time to drive over to Abbeville, SC and watch the eclipse.

This “Fetish” is a great bike.
This photo is for those who know bikes
These Georgia back roads are great for cycling
Practicing out to 50 yards with pins
Zoomed the photo in to capture the target. The chair at 25 yards is for my father-in-law, who is 89, when he’s practicing with his crossbow.

 

Yes, this was cool. There are more photographs of the eclipse on my Facebook page.

On the Road – Staunton, Virginia

I doubt I’ll go to the 2017 IBO World Championship in Seven Springs, Pennsylvania. Last year’s event was not a highlight of my archery career. In addition, unless you can average 10.4 points per arrow there’s not much point in spending the money to make the trip. Sure, you could argue, “It’s a good experience.” You’d be right. If you’re willing to fund the trip – I’m there.

Still, I’m in Staunton to shoot an IBO World Championship qualifier. Between now and the main IBO event, who knows, my 3D average might spike.

Staunton is not around the corner from New Hope, North Carolina. It’s about 260 miles from my house to the Augusta Archers’ Club, host of the qualifier. I’d considered making the trip and renting a hotel. Instead, this is being typed from my Winnebago at a KOA Campground.

The KOA was booked online. The site clicked for the reservation was really nice. Bordered by trees and backed up to a small ‘lake.’ It’s not really a lake; it’s a medium (at best) pond. But, the site looked good and it was booked.

Upon arrival the registration clerk pointed out the site’s location on the campground map. The campsite’s position had changed from the clicked on photo shown during the online selection. Now, it was a narrow, treeless mat of gravel backed up to a visitors’ parking lot and bordered by other camping rigs.

The debate to improve the parking situation with the registration agent failed, the clerk claiming all spots were rented. Furthermore, she added with emphasis, “The computer assigns sites and there is nothing that can be done about it.” As proof, she rotated a computer screen for me to view to verify exactly what the 0’s and 1’s had assigned. There’s no arguing with a speechless electronic binary brain. The monitor glowed in my face offering no compromise. Essentially, it was keep HAL’s bait and switch site or KOA retains my deposit and I move on.

(HAL is an AI from 2001 A Space Odyssey. The initials HAL each represent one letter from alphabet moved one space each from IBM. This is being typed on an Apple. If you never saw the movie or read the book this all is meaningless to you)

Deciding that any spot might be better than the Wal-Mart parking lot I backed into the small stony space. Once the truck was unhooked then power, water and sewage were connected I rolled out the RV’s canopy to help keep the sun off the camper. It had to be reeled back in. The site is so tight the canopy extended partly over the road. It was foreseeable that another RV could drive past and rip the canvas extension off the rig.

With nothing else to be done, I took a short practice drive over to the Augusta Archers range to ensure there’d be no confusion in the morning. The drive only took about 18 minutes, a bonus for the KOA.

The grounds, from what I could see on the drive in, were very nice. I’ll find out first hand on Sunday. The IBO qualifier here is held over two days. It was finished for Saturday when I arrived.

A number of competitors were hanging out in the Augusta Archers clubhouse, which holds a decent indoor range. The archers were all men except for one woman. The lady was pretty much the only person that appeared willing to talk aside from the most verbally economic answering of questions directed toward any of the men.

That is until we hit upon Seven Springs. Then, the masculine group all wanted to share and one-up each other on their woeful experiences at the Pennsylvania site. It seems my abysmal adventure of 2016 might not have been the worst in this group.

Hopefully, tomorrow I’ll get in zone and shoot over 300. Certainly, I’ll qualify – just in case.

Travel – MAS Tapas

Since I left my hometown of Savannah, Georgia I have traveled to 5 continents, 25 countries, and 49 US States. Along the way, I have run into hometown friends in unexpected places.

Once, in Spain, I was eating alone and heard a familiar voice trying to order a meal. In the nearly empty restaurant, it was early for a Spanish dinner, sat a good friend in the same boat as me – a hungry American trying to get a meal on American time. His Southern accent was a striking sound to ears thousands of miles away from family.

Most recently, on a road trip to an archery tournament, I stopped along the drive to see another native Savannahian at his Spanish restaurant, MAS Tapas, in Charlottesville, VA. I’d practically grown up in his family’s home.

Tommy’s brother, Michael and I became friends when we were in the 4th grade, my first year at Isle of Hope Elementary School. Prior to that my family had lived on Tybee Island, Georgia. In our junior year of high school, Michael and I began racing bicycles. Tommy and Michael’s older brother Stephen were soon on our wheels. By 1974 Michael was in Florida, Tommy was in New York, and I’d moved to Atlanta. Stephen remains in Savannah and Michael passed away last year. I had not seen any of them since 1974.

10801717_366177716890596_3558935672133552908_n
Michael in the jacket with the ‘J”, me in the white hat, Tommy wearing the knit cap hold a wheel. (1973)

Michael and I had talked a bit on the phone during the decades that followed our leaving Savannah. I hadn’t spoken with Tommy since 1974. After Michael’s death Tommy and I reconnected.

images

Tommy I learned is on his third career: athlete, architect, and now restaurateur. Tommy owns MAS Tapas and has for the past 14 years. As I was passing through Charlottesville on my way to an archery tournament, we made arrangements to meet has his restaurant.

Tommy, who now goes by Tomas, still has his uniquely Savannah accent. We Savannahians have our own Southern sound. It is a little more like a New Orleans sound than a Texas twang. The families native to Atlanta sound different, more of a Southern drawl,  than those of us from the coast.

n

Tomas arranged to meet at MAS, I was treated to the most amazing foods. As I mentioned, I’ve travel extensively. The result of that travel is that I’ve enjoyed some of the best meals restaurants can provide.

mas-tapas

MAS is a Spanish cuisine offering lots of small plates. Of course, I had this cuisine and style in the past. What impressed me was that every plate offered a clearly unique and powerful flavor. There were no blurred tastes – that is no single bite tasted similar another food on another plate. You get those blurred tastes at many “chain” restaurants where everything is ‘salty’.

images-1

Tomas and I ate for hours. The entire time I couldn’t stop thinking that this was one of the best meals I’d ever eaten. Weeks later, I still reflect on how nice it was to see Tomas after 42 years and how incredible the food was. I can’t wait to make the five-hour drive back to share a meal there with my wife, Brenda.

To Go or Not To Go

The 2016 3D archery season is, for me anyway, finished. Now it’s time to begin planning next year. While planning 2017 I noticed a few other tournaments that aren’t exactly in my backyard, but not that far away. For example the North Carolina State Field Archery Championship has popped up.

Naturally, I am drawn to the competition. The event is 7-days from today. Sure I could adjust my bow to handle the different arrows, thinner in diameter than what I’m currently shooting. Sure I could pack the Winnebago and head to the western part of the State.

But, I just got home after nearly a week on the road shooting. Since June, I’ve spent 34 days on the road for archery tournaments. While I decide whether to make this ‘unplanned’ trip I’ll continue to work on the 2017 schedule.

2nd Quarter 2016 Results

A version of this was sent to my sponsors:

This quarter has been a frustration – no wins. I competed in 8 events. Six in archery and two were bicycle races.

Yes, doing a bicycle race was a bit risky. A crash could wreck an archery season. Both bike races were time trials so odds of a crash were low. The cycling races yielded two-second place finishes.

Unknown-1
This can mess up archery

Archery produced 3-second place finishes, including 2nd place at the Maryland IBO State Championship. There were also 2 third place finishes and one where I ended up out of the top 10.  (we all have those weekends.)

The Maryland State Championship was also the IBO World Championship Qualifier. My 2nd place qualified me to compete at the IBO World Championship.

Two archery events I’d planned were canceled because of storms. The NFAA Sectionals messed me up for the Xterra Triathlon. I was competing in the sectional that ran long infringing on the triathlon – both were on the same day. The archery in the morning followed by the triathlon in the afternoon. An afternoon triathlon – an Xterra – would have been very cool. As it turned out I had to be satisfied with the 3rd place finish after the 2-day sectional competition in archery.

I’ve been on the road a lot having traveled 2490 miles this quarter to compete. I am looking forward to some time back home before heading out to the IBO World’s.

The website, Puttingitontheline.com, where I post remains strong. During Q2 it had 32,860 visitors in Q2 who read 84,567 pages. It also has a new logo.

IMG_5145

To reduce costs (based on a three year ROI) we bought a Winnebago. For example, the past 25 nights on the road cost $592.00 using the Winnebago (lodging only) whereas hotel and kennel fees would have been $4,520.00.

That’s pretty much it for Q2.

On the Road to the Outdoor Nationals and Camping Along the Way

On our way to Tignal then Madison, Georgia for fireworks and archery. From there we head to Decatur, Alabama to shoot. It’s a fairly long trip and we’re camping along the drive.

IMG_5227
A little rain in Lumberton.

Our first stop was in Lumberton, NC.  We stayed at a KOA off of I-95.  The road noise was a bit much if the air conditioner in the RV was off.  It was raining so we didn’t get out a lot.

IMG_5226
This might be a nice kayak trip

River, my lab, had to stay on a lease and we kept her out of the water.  She was disappointed.

IMG_5222
One disappointed dog

A Little Bit of Mayberry in North Carolina

Traveling is a great way to meet interesting people. John, for example, I met at the NFAA Sectional hosted by Big Buck Archery in Stoneville, NC. John is a 75-year-old retired Marine. Aside from being a chef in the military for six year he was a member of the Marine rifle team.

IMG_5129
John making ready for a long shot

There are all sorts of characters in archery. But, not all of the unique individuals found along the way to shoot are found on an archery range.

Before heading back from Stoneville to Hertford I wanted to do a quick inspection of a back road I’d planned to try. Because I was pulling my camper, a Winnebago Micro Minnie, it seemed a good idea to preview an area of construction on the way to US-158.

A short drive provided assurance the path was manageable. Another good idea was to fill up with gas before the planned early morning departure on the following day.

The gas station, grocery/hardware store where I pulled in to fill up was a slice of the old South. In North Carolina, the place reminded me of a store one might have found in Mayberry.

Gomer wasn’t inside, but Andy was on duty. Andy was a retired sheriff. After his retirement he used to walk down to the store to sit out front and smoke his pipe. His wife disallows smoking at their home.

The gas station, grocery/hardware store, McCollums, is where the old men gather to smoke, chew and spit. Andy, actually Mr. Lambert, would join the tobacco team and enjoy his pipe and the local conversation.  This is North Carolina and here tobacco is a staple.

IMG_5141

Anyway, the “Old Man” that owned the store went into the hospital and “…never came out.”

The “Old Man’s” son was working his career job and trying to run the store.  One evening, while smoking, Mr. Lambert said to the son, “You look beat.  I know how to close up. Why don’t you go home and leave it to me.” A month later, Mr. Lambert was the new store Manager.  That was ten years ago.

IMG_5143

What was typical of the people in rural NC is that Mr. Lambert had stories to share. We talked for over an hour.  He told me about his farm, his career in law enforcement, and how to get around the traffic.  Most of all, he made me feel welcome and at home. A Southern Tradition.

I travel about 20,000 miles a year shooting in archery tournaments. Most of them, thus far, have been the local or regional events with a few National and World Championships thrown in for good measure.  Aside from the enjoyment of the competition a main highlight is the unique people I meet along the way.