Thursday, December 17, 2009

Transport by Ski...

I recently finished my term at the Monument and handed in my final report. I also gave a presentation to the managers at the Monument along with all the law enforcement rangers as well. Everyone was extremely pleased with my work over the past six month and hopefully my research will lead to some well timed changes in and around the Monument. Joan, the superintendent, along with others, seemed adamant about making some of my recommendations a reality. Hopefully, the report will be available to the public so that everyone can take a look if they choose. It isn't for the weak hearted though, it is quite long.

But now for the real exciting part, I get to ski for the next three and a half weeks before I head to Washington DC for the TRB conference January 10th. Although there hasn't been much snow yet, I am hoping it will pick up shortly. Do a little snow dance for me. If you want to find me between now and TRB, there is a good chance I will be on the slopes. After TRB, I head back to Berkeley to finish the last year of my graduate degree. I am really excited to get back into academia and prepare myself for the working world upon graduation in December 2010.

And the 4Runner is still going strong, I will actually be driving it back to California. Cross your fingers, but I think it will make it.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Please Prepare for Landing

So I just returned back from my thanksgiving vacation back in Boston. It was a blast although I probably came back a bit more tired than when I left. It was full of spending time with friends and family, not to mention eating tons of delicious food.

The Fruita / Grand Junction area has definitely thinned since the season has started to change. A lot of people head out of town for the winter. Definitely a bit quieter, if that is even possible. It seems a bit similar to Cape Cod, back in Boston.

As far as the report, I have finished a draft and am awaiting comments from some of my colleagues here at the Monument. It feels really good to have it all almost complete. Now I get to focus on designing my poster for the TRB conference in January. It should be an extremely exciting time.

I will likely post one more time before I head out of the Monument. I am finishing my term on December 15th and then I get a little time off to ski before heading to DC for the conference. After that I will be back into academia, finishing the last year of my masters program. I can't really say enough about how good of an experience this program was.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Deadlines Approaching: Change Lanes in Emergency

Since the last post, I have been diligently working on getting this final report completed so that I can have it reviewed before Thanksgiving, and then have time to edit it during the two weeks I have left upon my return. It is pretty exciting to see all the work over the past six months taking shape in the report, although at the moment it is a bit long. I will be aiming to trim it down a bit, but also want to make sure I include all the necessary analysis.

Outside of work I have begun the process of getting back into an academic state of mind. I recently did my course selection and I have to say I think I am going to enjoy this next semester of coursework. I have also been working towards applying for internships for next summer. The application season starts early.

In other exciting news, it gets dark around 5:30pm now. It stinks. I really didn't notice it that much in more urban areas, since there are a bunch of other things to keep you occupied. But in nature, once the sun sets, most of your options are limited. Still I have found a little time after work to get in a quick run and ski exercises. Sometimes I get a quick game of disc golf in as well.

The weather is still pretty warm here. It still gets into the 60s during the day but it is usually short lived. The neighbors and I have been having more fires than usual. It is quite relaxing.

Also, big news, this weekend we are having the Rimrock Run. It should be really exciting. I will have to see how it stacks up to the Boston Marathon.

Until next time...

Friday, October 30, 2009

Snow in the Desert?

I got my wish! Some snow on the red rocks of the desert. It was extremely gorgeous as you can see in the photos below (it made me really want to ski though). We don't get that much here so I am definitely going to appreciate it while it lasts. And it definitely won't last long since it is going to be at least 60 degrees come next week.

In other news, work has definitely picked up. I finished my last observation period on the road which was really rewarding. Now I have all the data I need to complete my analysis. Over the past couple weeks I have been working mostly in-office to get the final report completed before I head back east for thanksgiving. This will give me some time to have the report reviewed and make the necessary edits and additions when I return for my final two weeks in December. I will also be doing a presentation at the Monument in my final weeks to acclimate all the employees with the work that I have completed.

I also got my truck back from the shop a couple weeks ago and it runs like a new 22 year old car. Still has some slight starting issues, but that is more tied to the coldness then anything else. Should I keep it and drive it back to Cali? Or sell it here in CO before I leave?

In the past week, I also got some new neighbors. About six members of the Teton's trail crew moved down here for a 60 day term assignment. This means that we almost doubled the amount of people that live on the Monument from 8 to 14. It almost feels like I am back in a big city! All of the new neighbors are great and very friendly. We even caught game 1 of the world series together and surprising everyone was rooting for the Phillies. It does seem that everyone hates the Yankees. I couldn't have been more pleased. Now all they have to do is lose three more games.

In a couple weeks, November 14th to be exact, the Rimrock Run takes place. I will hopefully have some pictures to post, but it is essentially a marathon that travels over the 23 miles of Rimrock Drive. It has been going on for years, and leads to some complicated transportation issues as well. So it should be interesting to watch unfold.

OK, I think that is it for now. Until next time...

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Greyhound Buses and their Adventures

So I just returned from my buddy's wedding in NC. It was a blast. I got to meet a lot of new people and also catch up with a bunch that I haven't seen in a while. Always good fun.

As far as work has gone over the past couple weeks, I have continued on with my analysis as well as attempting to finish reviewing the 1986 lawsuit filed by some Glade Park residents. (I don't know how all you law students/lawyers do it, the language is just plain DRY!) The report is progressing well and am in a good position to deliver a complete and thorough analysis. Again, you have to wait for the results though!

Public lands day was a huge success here with about 1000 people showing up to walk Rimrock Drive and take part in the other events throughout the Monument. In addition over 800 showed up to our advanced screening of the first episode of "The National Parks: America's Best Idea."

4Runner Update: the beast finally went in for service (tune up, etc.) and I should be getting it back today. Hopefully all of my starting issues will have been taken care of. The car still rocks and rolls though. Such a solid purchase.

As for my trip on the greyhound bus from Denver to Grand Junction, it was one of the most interesting people watching scenes I have experienced in quite some time. I think it helps that I was taking a 12:10am bus from Denver that got us into Grand Junction at about 5:00am. Needless to say there were some character. At least it kept me entertained. We also were awoken on the bus ride to a call from the driver to see if there were any doctors or nurses on board. A car had flipped on I70 at about 4:00am and the bus was essentially the first responder. A couple people went out to check on the occupants so they had to wait for the emergency personnel to get there and then give them statements etc. In all it backed us up about an hour, but again, if you ever want some good stories, take a greyhound bus in the middle of the night.

OH OH, and the first couple mountains in CO opened for the ski season. Can you tell I am excited? It was actually snowing at DIA when I was flying to NC. I love it.

Until next time...there will be pictures, I promise.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Jetsetting myself...

So I have undoubtedly left you hanging after my last post, for over a month. Hopefully mys schedule will become a little more regular and I will be able to compile more exciting and multimedia focused posts.

Today, I don't have any pictures to add, but definitely some updates about work and life.

One of the best pieces of news is that I am almost done car counting! I have a couple more weekend days I need to collect some data for, but otherwise the bulk of the data collection is complete. During some of my time not on the roads counting, I have delved even further into my analysis and have started to come to some conclusions and begun developing some recommendations. This is where all the exciting stuff happens, but you will have to wait for the results until I finish my report.

In other news, I just returned from a good friend's bachelor party. It was in North Carolina and we spent the weekend enjoying various lake activities. Boating, tubing, jet skiing, dock jumping, etc. You name it, and we probably did it. It was great fun, and hopefully I will be able to post some pictures later. I will be traveling back to NC in October for his wedding as well.

I also spent some time in Boulder with friends over the past weekend. The weather was good so I was able to do a little hiking, and just exploring the city in general. I also went to a couple live music shows which were a lot of fun.

All in all, things are going well here, and the weather is starting to get cooler. If you know me, then this is what I was waiting for all summer. Ha. I also just purchased my season ski pass so I am ready to start ripping up the slopes. Can't wait for the mountains to open.

Until next time...

Friday, September 4, 2009

Influx of Jetsetters

I have a little time here and I want to give a quick update, and also to mention National Public Lands day, September 26th.

Since my last post, I have spent most of my time in the office. I have another week or so of data to collect on the road, but I needed a break. Most of my time has been spent analyzing the data I had been collecting, as well as reviewing legal documents about the 1986 lawsuit, learning the ArcGIS application, and firming up my draft outline for the final report.

I have also had a bunch of people visiting over the past couple weekends. One of my friends Alex, from CA, came through with his brother, Ben, while helping him move from Indiana to San Diego. They only stayed for a day but it was a blast. They really appreciated driving a huge moving truck, towing a car, up Rimrock Drive. My mom also came to visit for a weekend. We went to Arches, in Moab, and also up to the Grand Mesa. Obviously, I gave her a tour of the Monument and we did a couple hikes. Lastly, my friends Christian and Sarah visited. We went to Moab and did some awesome off-roading in my truck. It was awesome.

I will have more information and pictures of all this stuff shortly, but bear with me.

So, September 26th is National Public Lands day. We are having a really cool event at the Monument, so if you are in the area (or within 5 hours of the area...) you should definitely pay a visit. Check this site out:

If you aren't in the area check out this for some good ideas:

Also there is a sweet PBS series coming out on the National Parks and Park Service:

Alright, will be back with more next week.