Thursday, December 25, 2008

Santa Sighted Near Eagle River, AK

The craziest thing happened. We just saw Santa ripping it up on tele at South Fork. He's mad good. He hucked this cliff and got like 10 seconds of air time and he doesn't need to skin back up, cause his reindeer fly down and give him a lift back up. Check it out at.
~~ Sam

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve Message From Mom

Image by Jill Homer ~

Good Morning..

It is early morning on Christmas Eve Day..I just wanted to welcome you to this glorious day and tell you to take a moment today..breathe..and look around at all God has given us with the birth of His Son...There is so much beauty and so much love..not just in the nature and scenery around us but the beauty in each one of our souls and the love that He has so put in our hearts ... just by looking you can see that it is there. He gave us each other to love and cherish and without each other and our different souls brought together, we could not enjoy all that is around us. It is through the eyes of our spirit that we can appreciate this. Truly, our eyes are the window into our soul.

My greatest gift has been to bear our children...through the pain of labor such a beautiful thing was created and at the end of the hard laboring--a gift. Isn't that how life is..through the challenges and trials..through the pain we endure..God enriches our lives with such reward and beauty, it is hard to even describe. There is nothing as amazing in God's creation, then the gift of a child born..Isn't that what His birth is all about? I now understand why it was to be that way for all mother's bearing their children..the pain and the joy all mixed into one and when is good.

I am thinking about each one of you today..It is hard not to be all together...realizing that this is how it has to be at makes me appreciate the times we are even more. Not to forget, after it is all done..God keeps adding to your life through your children...that is you Gretchen. We are thankful for you now blended into our family.

Make this day wonderful. Keep Him in your heart in everything you do..remember that anything else is just the "earthly details" and only temporary..and know that there is no greater love than what your Dad and I feel for you..

God's peace this day..

Love you always,


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Merry Christmas - Carol of the Bells

I don't know Trace Bundy but Mike on his bike had this YouTube video on his Blog.

Pretty cool, Carol of the Bells!!

The Chamberlain family's favorite Claymation version.

New interstate road map takes shape for bicyclists

By Calvin Woodward, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON — At first glance, everything seems out of place on the map of a new interstate road system taking shape across the nation.
Interstate 95 runs down the stunning sweep of the Pacific Coast, not the congested blandness of the Eastern Seaboard. Route 1 meanders along country roads, not strip malls. And you'll get your kicks on Route 76.

Mapmakers gone wild? Not quite.

State officials and bicycle enthusiasts are stitching together more than 50,000 miles of pedal-friendly pavement to form a vast network of bicycle routes connecting byways, cities and offroad trails in a system like the one created for cars and trucks over half a century ago.

The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, working with the Adventure Cycling Association and other groups, recently approved a plan, four years in the making, that lays the foundation for the network. Now it's up to each state to create the routes and put up signs.

"It's a big turning point," said Jim Sayer, executive director of the Adventure Cycling group, the authority on transcontinental bike travel.

"We're coming down out of the clouds, having created the overall national plan, and getting to the nitty-gritty of creating interstate routes on the ground. It's a great opportunity for the U.S. to establish what could be the largest bicycle route network in the world."

The effort relies on cartography instead of construction, signposts instead of earth-movers.

Working from a bewildering tangle of existing roads, planners mapped a web of corridors where the national bicycle system should go. They considered traffic volume, terrain, amenities and ways to link together lightly traveled byways, secondary roads, urban trails and already established transcontinental bicycle routes.

Each corridor on the map they approved is a broad swath 50 miles wide; the precise routes within each corridor are still to be designated, numbered and given signs.

To avoid confusion, the proposed numbering system is reversed from interstate highways. For example, Route 10 is the southernmost east-west interstate for motor vehicles; bicycle Route 10 runs east-west close to the Canadian border.

Long-distance bicycling is catching the imagination — and in some cases, purse strings — of governments worldwide as they look for ways to encourage people-powered travel and tourism. If completed as planned, the U.S. network would outdistance anything offered in other countries, or even continents.

In Europe, a dozen long-distance routes are coming together in the 38,000-mile EuroVelo network, about one-third complete. For a route to qualify, it must have traffic volume under 1,000 vehicles a day, a grade no steeper than 6% and enough width for cyclists to ride two abreast.

In Quebec, the 2,700-mile Route Verte, or Greenway, was finished last year at a cost of more than $80 million Canadian from the provincial government and millions more from localities along the way.

Quebec set rigorous conditions for operators who want business from the cyclists. For example, certified campgrounds must guarantee space to cyclists, reservation or not, and offer a sheltered place to eat. Participating hotels must offer high-carb meals, fresh fruit and secure storage for bikes. Amenities and public transportation are offered at set intervals.

The U.S. is a long way from that level of organization and is unlikely to adopt rigid nationwide standards for what constitutes a bike-friendly interstate route. The lay of the land is such that busier roads with wide shoulders are included along with quiet roads with no shoulders.

Adventure Cycling has thoroughly mapped 38,000 miles on its own. The new corridors incorporate many of those routes, perhaps most notably the TransAmerica Trail, the mother road of transcontinental bicycling connecting Virginia and Oregon over 4,262 miles.

The interstate plan marks a revival of sorts for Route 76, the 1976 bicentennial bicycle route that shares most of the same roads with the TransAm. Virginia has already put up Bicycle Route 76 signs for the new system — signs that will rise again across the country if the vision of the planners is made real.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed

Sunday, December 14, 2008

When It Rains, It Pours

"God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength but with your testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it", 1 Corinthians 10:13.

Your running 100 mph with your hair on fire, you have a 500 mile drive to make, you feel like the wheels are falling off, 14 people are coming to dinner and the refrigerator breaks down and you have to buy a new one.

Just a typical Christmas adventure, all in the span of 3 days in the Chamberlain home. I get home from work Thursday night and Val says the fridge isn't cooling. She moves all the food down to the basement refrigerator. I am planning on leaving to get Molly at WVU from work around 2pm on Friday. I call in and pull the refrigerator apart Friday morning to find the recirculating fan shot. We're off to Lowes and "think" the one we want will fit. I get the measurements and we head home. Yes it will fit "IF" I pull the cabinet out and take out all the floor moulding. The opening is 35 15/16". The new Whirlpool is 35 3/4" wide. What's 3/16 among friends?

All this is completed by about 1:30 pm. Back to Lowes I go. Mean while Valerie is doing her best to prepare for 14 people coming to dinner Saturday night, arriving at 5:30 pm for 1/2 of our church's progressive dinner. Oh, yes she didn't have to walk 4 miles on Friday with all the trips up and down to the basement refrigerator.

Great, Lowes had the fridge we want in stock. Good deal. 10% off, 6 months no payment no interest. The American way. Who could ask for more. Free delivery (guaranteed between 9 am and 5 pm Sat.) and installation and removal of the old one. Gee, it only takes until 3pm because when I get to the register and swipe my Loew's card it says rejected. Haha. Sir you haven't used your card in 4 years. Yes, that is correct, when we bought the dryer. Sorry sir you'll have to fill out an application for a new card.

Finally at 3 pm it's out the door, heading west for M-town. Molly is waiting. So is 22 degrees and 2 inches of new ice and snow as I go over Keyser's ridge on I-68 at 45 mph. Well at least we found a stool at Blackbear and I wasn't driving back the same night. That meant an Irei Remember burrito, an Oatmeal stout, and a Santa pale ale. All this to keep us fortified until 1:30 am while we packed Molly, loaded the car and cleaned her room.

"God is faithful..." Saturday it was a beautiful sunny day for the drive home. The new Whirlpool was delivered by noon and as usual, Valerie pulled off a miraculous stunning dinner for 17 people.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Perfect Ashe Co., NC Fraser Fir

The following photos document the 2008 quest for the perfect Christmas tree, Ashe County, NC style. This is a county that sells over 27 Million dollars worth of Fraser firs every year. The White House tree came from there this year. Now as you will see Travis is a professional when it comes to picking out the perfect tree. Heck he even has his own measuring stick. Believe me when I say he may have met his match in a discerning consumer when it came to helping Valerie.
Sun rise Saturday morning from the guest house over looking the tree farm. (click on any image to enlarge)
The guest house/cabin is in the upper right hand corner

"Valerie, believe me when I say the red ribbon is a 10 foot tree. The STICK doesn't lie"

"10 foot you say, it doesn't look a bit over 9. I just need a bigger house"

"Hmmmm, it could be the perfect tree. Did you say Rick has 24,999 more trees to pick from?"

We stand next to the 2008 winner.

The girls pick the perfect apartment tree for Maggi
We even had the opportunity to make fresh wreaths.
Rick and Jane prepare our tree for the trip up I-81

Friday, December 5, 2008

Two New Blogs I Found

What an amazing media this Blogging. I have always been amazed at the websites I find while surfing the net through links. The same goes for exploring the blogging world. Many bloggers will have favorites or links to blogs they follow.

I came across two really cool bloggers this week.
Up in Alaska.
Jill Homer, "I'm an Alaska journalist who likes to bicycle in horrendous conditions and eat goldfish crackers and Pepsi for breakfast." She has ridden and is preparing to ride the 2009 Bike Iditarod. A 350 mile winter, crosscountry bike race. She is the author of, "Ghost Trails" a sometimes joyful, often harrowing ride through my experiences in the 2008 Iditarod Trail Invitational, and the events that inspired it. Jill also takes some amazing photos on her daily winter bike rides.

The second blog I found is
The Adventures of Mike and his Bike
"Let the Good Times Roll"

Mike J. lives in Marysville, WA and from the few posts I have read he rides his bike everywhere. Here are two things you might not know about Mike.
"I can name just about any classic rock song within 3 seconds of hearing it. I can also name the artist and year it came out. I try not to yell this information out every time I hear a song but it’s hard not to. This is one of my super powers. It’s a useless superpower but a superpower just the same."
"When I was a kid I was a super picky eater and I really didn’t like candy very much. In fact, my parents would buy me a candy bar as a treat when we would go on trips and they would later find it with one bite taken out of them and left in the back seat. I do remember eating paste in Kindergarten though and liking it. This fact embarrasses my family which cracks me up."

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Expected Rule Change Would Benefit Bicycling in National Parks

International Mountain Bicycling Assoc. (IMBA)

Action Alert
For Immediate Release
Contact: Mark Eller, IMBA Communications Director

An upcoming National Park Service (NPS) rule change could greatly benefit mountain bicycling by improving the administrative process for opening trails to bicycles. IMBA has been asking the agency to revise its policies since 1992, because the current "special regulations" process is needlessly cumbersome and treats bicycles like motorized vehicles.

The NPS has said the proposal for new rules will be formally announced later this year. IMBA hopes the enhanced procedure will allow park superintendents to make trail access decisions locally, instead of being tied to a Washington-based, multi-year regulatory journey. The new rule would treat bicycling like other non-motorized trail users, such as equestrians.

The suggested NPS rule change would only apply to places where including bicycling is non controversial, and would maintain current requirements for environmental review and public notice. Opening a trail to bicycling must be in compliance with the National Park Service Organic Act, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Historic Preservation Act, and all NPS General Management Planning processes.

Proposed Rule Subject of Misunderstandings
Recently, the American Hiking Society (AHS) published a national action alert opposing the as-yet-unreleased NPS rule. This alert is based on the incorrect assumption that requirements for comprehensive environmental review and public commentary about opening a trail to bicycling will be discarded. In fact, these safeguards will remain in place, as required by federal law. IMBA and AHS leaders met nationally on this issue last week.

Unfortunately, the alert has rippled through the hiking community, causing consternation and confusion amongst the shared-use trails community. Some hiking-based groups have expressed concern that mountain biking will infringe on foot travel in national parks, but IMBA remains confident that shared-use trails can succeed in national parks, as they do in countless public land settings around the globe.

The alert also suggests that this regulatory change could affect how Wilderness, or areas proposed for Wilderness, will be managed. In fact, these issues are completely separate. IMBA recognizes that cycling is not allowed in areas designated as Wilderness. The NPS proposed rule change would have no impact on Wilderness regulations.

National parks that are not interested in expanding opportunities for bicycling will not be affected by the rule change. The new proceedures will not force mountain biking on any park unit, and superintendents that do not see opportunities for mountain biking in their parks will not be asked to adopt it.

IMBA Encourages Clubs to Reach Out to Hiking Groups and NPS Leaders
IMBA encourages mountain bike organizations to reach out to their local hiking trail partners and NPS local leaders with our fact sheet on the issue, to address concerns and answer questions about the rule change.

Creating opportunities for mountain biking will not diminish experiences for existing users such as hikers or equestrians. Park staff are skilled at selecting appropriate trails for shared-use experiences. Hikers and bikers can work together to repair eroded trails, get kids exercising in parks and build excitement about our national parks.

More on What the Rule Change Will Achieve
The current "special regulations" process for opening NPS trail to bicycling is onerous and cumbersome, often typically taking years to complete. Only two of the roughly 24 parks that allow singletrack mountain biking have managed to complete special regulations, highlighting the unrealistic and unnecessary burden it places on NPS staff. The special regulations process required for bicycles also applies to snowmobiles, jet skis, airplanes, commercial trucking and other similarly intensive park uses. IMBA believes local park management, using the inclusive NEPA process, can best make decisions regarding bicycle use on the trails that they oversee.

In one real-world example, Tennessee's Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, trail users and park staff worked for many years to open two existing routes to bicycling, detailing the process publicly in environmental reviews, park planning documents and rigorous scientific research. Regardless, the trail opening was prohibited because special regulations had not been completed. While bicyclists, NPS staff, hikers and equestrians all support opening these trails to bicycles, the opening date is likely several years in the future, at best.

Another example can be found in Washington, DC, at Fort Dupont National Park. IMBA affiliated club Trips for Kids has been bringing inner-city youth to the park to ride the existing network of singletrack trails for many years. This program helps build self-esteem, get kids exercising and exposes an often underserved population to the benefits of bicycling and national parks. Technically, these trails are out of compliance with this bureaucratic, special regulations process - although all groups involved would call this program wildly successful.

For more information on this issue, please contact IMBA's Government Affairs Director Jenn Dice (, or Policy Analyst Drew Vankat (

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Two Favorites

My two favorites from the Thanksgiving Turkey Trot.
(click on the images to enlarge)
"Daaaaad, running is soooo boring. Are we there yet?"
"Running is such hard work."