Monday, December 17, 2007

Merry Christmas from Team Kettle!

Unfortunately, Dan was not available for the Christmas picture this year. I guess preparing for a rafting trip on the Grand Canyon is more important. I am sure he will have plenty of photos from that trip!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Snowboard Video Review

Here is a collection of the team's favorite snowboard video's so far of the 07/08 season complete with teasers. We have had a lot of time to spend watching video's because we have not received enough snow yet for our local knob (aka Mt. A or Mt. Ashland Ski Park) to open for operation. A signifigant storm system is moving through over the next two days with another one on it's hells, so hopefully we will be shreding before Christmas.

If you don't think chicks can rip check out Float the all girls video.

#6. Capita's First Kiss

#5. Mac Dog's Picture This

#4. Were People Too

#3. Mountain Labs 1.5

#2. Think Tank

#1. Child Support

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Illinois River Trip

Dan and I rafted the Illinois River on November 17th and 18th. Rogue River Journeys, SOU White Water Club, SOU Outdoor Program, and the Galice Resort made this trip possible. This trip was my first down the Illinois River, and we were expecting a lot of precipitation. The flow of the river can spike quickly on the Illinois, so I found myself with some apprehension when we showed up to the put-in and it was pouring down rain. The level was already close to 3,000 cfs and rising quickly. I, personally, was not sure if we should continue on with trip, however Dan and Will have been on the river several times (Will alone has rafted the Illinois 11 times), so I put my trust in them and their judgment. We rigged our boats quickly in an attempt to stay ahead of the rising water.

There were five rafts and five kayakers on the trip. I was going to be paddle assist with Leland Fulton in Will’s raft. I was happy to be in a boat with Will because of his experience in boating and on this river. We had a long distance to go on Saturday so we didn’t mess around a whole lot for the first few hours. Our time was spent reading and running most of the class IV rapids and one of the rafts almost flipped three times, causing the guide to swim a rapid and his passenger to swim another rapid. I was extremely impressed with the beauty of the canyon, the speed of the water, and the giant waves and holes in the first six miles.

The first rapid where I really started to understand how powerful this river was is called York Creek Rapid. York Creek Rapid is an s-curve rapid and our boat was the lead boat so we got through the rapid first. Once through the rapid we eddied out and set up safety. Watching the other four boats come through the rapid was the first time I realized how fast the river was moving. The 18 miles leading up to the Green Wall Rapid went by very quickly due to the speed of the river.

At Green Wall, we stopped to scout. Scouting took about an hour because of the long hike to get to a location we could scout from. Once back in our boat, we ran the rapid as the second boat. Chip’s boat ran lead and while they plunged into a big hole, they had a really solid line. As we entered into the rapid we were aiming to run the left side of the monster whole which would take us right over a rock and then would allow us to hug the left side of the rapid the rest of the way down. However, instead of flowing right over the rock, we got hung up and spun around 180 degrees, dropping into the big hole backwards. Leland almost got sucked out of the boat, but somehow managed to stay in. Will recovered quickly and spun the boat back around.

However, a few seconds later we got hung up on another rock and were facing upstream dropping into another hole. Somehow we all stayed in the boat and Will got us facing downstream in time to miss the big flip rock on river right. Exhausted, we caught an eddy on the left and set up for safety. We watched every other boat have a clean solid run through Green Wall. After Green Wall is a three-mile gorge that is consistent and fast with big waves, holes and countless class IV rapids. The wave trains in this gorge section were the biggest waves I have ever seen. We camped below Collier Creek at a camp framed by waterfalls.

The camp is the best river camp I have stayed at. After setting up the kitchen and some tarps, Dan and I set up our tent and devoured some Kettle Chips. The Chips were the all new Organic Chipotle and they were amazing!!!

Day two started slowly as people worked off their hangovers and then moved quickly once we were on the water. It took us only an hour to travel eight river miles to the take-out. At the take-out, Dan and I shared some Sour-Cream and Dill Kettle chips and then settled down in the shuttle van and began the long drive back to the Selma House. A few hours latter and a rescue lock-smith we were all safely back in Ashland.

This was my best river trip ever!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Halloween in Ashland

Halloween in Ashland is an important event every year. The festivities bring in people from near and far, and it is an extraordinary experience.

The festivities begin with a parade through downtown Ashland. Children watch the parade of incredibly costumed people, then trick-or-treat at the stores.

As the evening closes in, the older (and what I mean by older is a more college-aged crowd) begins to overtake the plaza. It is a crowd large enough to close down the entire plaza. It is really just a big public party filled with drunk adults dressed in elaborate costumes. Of course the bars around town are happening as well. Most charge a $5-10 cover fee to get inside and warm up with a drink or two.

Travis "Cheddar Beer" and Verelle "Tuscan Three Cheese" began their Halloween festivities at their home with Buffalo Bleu Kettle Chips (we think there should be a pumpkin flavor!), pumpkin flavored beer, and a photo shoot. Travis dressed as a hot air balloon. Verelle dressed as a disgruntled housewife.
Click on the photo to see it larger.

Even the cat got dressed up.
Then they headed with their posse downtown. Photos of this would be posted, but unfortunately their camera was stolen. Boo!

A Wedding: Team Kettle Style

On June 30th of this year, Travis "Cheddar Beer" Caldwell was married to Verelle "Tuscan Three Cheese" Stuck by their pastor Dan "Buffalo Bleu" Thurber. The wedding took place at Red Ridge Farms, an herb farm, in the beautiful Willamette Valley. It is located in the heart of wine country, not far from Verelle's hometown of Carlton. The farm is gorgeous, abundant with lavender fields, vineyard views and even complete with an elegant guest room for the newlyweds to stay in on their wedding night.
It was a beautiful ceremony. Dan was ordained online just for the occasion, and he did a wonderful job. Of course Kettle Chips and plenty of Talledega Nights movie jokes were mentioned. Surrounded by less than fifty of Travis and Verelle's close family and friends, it was a very intimate.
The reception that followed included lots of champagne and wonderful organic food provided by Whole Foods catering service.
There was a dance lesson given by a couple of excellent dance instructors from Arthur Murray Dance Studio to the wedding party and all of the guests. They taught east coast swing and the box step. It was a hit, and by the end of the lesson, everybody was gettin' down.

Of course, the night had to include a marriage certificate signing/Kettle Chips photo shoot! By this time we had all consumed a sufficient amount of champagne and were having a great time!
To top off the night, the wedding party watched fireworks from the St. Paul Rodeo that was taking place a few miles away amidst the glowing full moon. Truly, it was a perfect evening!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Upper Quartzville Creek - IV+

Creeking season is here! These last few days it rained a lot in western Oregon. Kayakers across the state were getting online and drooling over the hydrographs for local creeks and river. The Smith probably wins the flood contest with flows going from below a grand to floodstage of over 80,000 cfs in only a day. That's a 10,000% increase in just a few hours!

Needless to say, we didn't get on that river, but I did meet up with some fellow paddlers in Eugene and Corvallis for a mission out to Upper Quartzville Creek. UQ is a tributary to the Middle Fork of the Santiam River and is one of the northwest classics. The four-mile run drops around 500 feet with a pretty healthy flow, providing some excellent runnable class IV+ slides and boulder gardens. There was one easy portage around a log-jam and two river-wide logs we were able to duck under next to the left bank. UQ is loaded with excellent rapids and is very do-able for a class IV boater, so I felt right at home. The run is pure fun!

Almost as fun as this:

In The Know: Situation In Nigeria Seems Pretty Complex

We ran two laps for a total of 1,000 feet of elevation in 8 miles. We were moving too fast to take pictures on this run, but an excellent write-up with pictures is posted on Oregon Kayaking. We didn't even stop to scout! The highlight of my day was paddling up to the lip of Grocker, which turned out to be a 20-foot horizon line, and I couldn't see where to go until I was rocketing down the waterslide! This was the first creeking trip of the season for many of the paddlers, and out of our group of twelve, one never got on the water because of forgotten gear and three swam. I might have swam in the last rapid, but as I was getting worked in a hole, another boater came in and landed on me, knocking me downriver.

Sorry again for the lack of pictures, but I'll try to get some good shots next time!


After all of the work, stress, and fun of the wedding was over we were off to Spain for our Honeymoon.

The location of the Honeymoon was not easy to pick, and after some persuading I talked Verelle into allowing me the freedom to plan the Honeymoon and surprise her with my decision close to our departure. Spain was not the most obvious choice for me, but the more I thought about it the more it fit.

On our way to Spain we flew Portland to LA, LA to London, and London to Madrid. It was not a short flight by any means, and we were not excited when our luggage did not show in Madrid. We did not let the loss of our luggage slow us down.

We quickly made our way to our hotel downtown Madrid. The beauty, age, and history of the city was more then we could have dreamed. Shortly after checking in we mosied down the streets looking for the best place to have our first meal in Spain. The perfect street side cafe came on a quaint ally. With our first bottle of wine and fresh sea-food dinner we were in heaven.

The next morning we strolled back down the street and picked up the bicycles I had reserved for us. Something you should know about Spain is that nothing is that easy to find because the old allies are not labeled and they wind from street to street in obscure angles. Now armed with bikes we were unstoppable. The bikes let us see more of Madrid then any other form of transportation would have and we took advantage of them. That day we saw the historical bull fighting arena, the Real Madrid Soccer stadium, and rode past countless other historical sites. While we got around quickly on our bikes we did not move to fast that we could not still enjoy good tapas and wine, and before we knew it was time for us to return our bikes and get ready to head to our next Honeymoon destination.

On our last day in Madrid our luggage showed up, which was a huge relief. We took a train from Madrid to the city of Barcelona. The train ride was one of my favorite experiences. The mass transit system in European countries in incredible and the Spanish country side is as beautiful as it gets. The plains, sharp cliffs, and rolling hills rival in other country side I have ever seen for beauty.

Barcelona is a lot different then Madrid. Madrid's beauty comes from its age, but Barcelona's beauty comes from its blend of age and modernism. Barcelona is the best example of how street art can coexist with museums, and how old building can be taught new decor.

Our first day in Barcelona we tried to do a lot, but then we slowed down. We started drinking and eating more, and going to less museums. The food, wine, and cheese quality in Barcelona was more then we could have ever wished for. With Verelle prodding me we spent more time laying in the sun on the beach and less time walking around. But, we still managed to see a lot of sites and experience the best of what Barcelona had to offer.

The next thing we new our 10 day Honeymoon was concluding and we were making our way back across the Atlantic via London a night in LAX and then Portland.

I could not have asked for a better trip to start our married life together!

Dan's Birthday

Join us February 16 at Scarlet's house for Dan's 22 Birthday Day party! Its going to be a good time so don't forget.

Oh, and don't forget to bring Dan a present.

Willamette Pass

Verelle and I will leave Ashland around 9 pm on Thursday March 13th and drive to Corvallis where we will stay at Dan and Cullen's house. Friday March 14th we will go ride at Willamette Pass Ski Resort. It will be the teams first visit to this Oregon Ski Resort. Verelle and I will crash (aka drink) back at Dan and Cullen's Friday night and the drive back to Ashland on Saturday.


Verelle and I will leave Ashland around 9 pm on Thursday March 20th and drive to Corvallis where we will stay at Dan and Cullen's house. Friday March 21st we will go ride at Hoodoo Ski Resort. It will be the teams first visit to this Oregon Ski Resort. Verelle and I will crash (aka drink) back at Dan and Cullen's Friday night and the drive back to Ashland on Saturday.

Summer Job Opp

Barbarian Night at Mt. Ashland

Ah, the middle of the ski season approaches, which is celebrated in Southern Oregon by what is legally considered a fund raiser. Bavarian Night is an annual event at Mt. Ashland where a few people buy raffle tickets and the ski patrol gets to buy a new wool hat. The true purpose of the event is to throw a party and attract OLCC officers to keep people from drinking in the parking lot. So how do we avoid them? Go ride! A chairlift ride is just long enough to drink a nice beer and fill up the trash can atop the mountain, and night skiing is the perfect setting to pee in the woods.

We always stop by the car every few runs to fill up our mugs and stomachs, then hit the slopes again. When 8 o'clock rolls around, the ski patrol is crazy enough to trust everyone with emergency torches duct taped to our poles, so the result is a couple hundred drunk snowsports enthusiasts skiing a steep, icy run in the dark while carrying fire. They call it a "torchlight parade."

The parade is customarily followed by a great fireworks display, lots of cheering, and a little more dancing before the bar closes down for the night and people are herded outside by their designated drivers.

This event has a tendency to be very epic. In the past, Dan has spent the night hidden the the Mt. Ashland lodge, curled up in the All-Trac, and on his front porch. Keep posted for updates on this year's mistakes!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Mighty Illinois

Along with the Southern Oregon University Whitewater Club, we will be running the Illinois River on November 16, 17, and 18. The Illinois River is arguably the most beautiful multi-day raft trip on the west coast and in North America.

We will be running the usual 32-mile section from Miami Bar to to Oak Flat.

Will in the thick of it. Green Wall Rapid

Planing a trip on the Illinois this early in the season slightly optimistic because the low elevation of the watershed. The flow can change rapidly with a quick shift in the weather. After a nine trips down the river in the last few years, SOU Whitewater Club president "Illy Willy" has gotten pretty darn good at predicting flows.

Dan in a very small boat in a very big rapid on the Illinois

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


This is how we burn off all the potato chips we eat!

Dan's ancient Bianchi that he is in love with!

Verelle's rides a Cannondale!

Travis's Cervelo that is wicked awesome!

There is a new bike in the picture now. I recently inhairited my Dad's old 10 speed Nashiki that he bought before moving to Oregon in Kansas City Mo. Which make the bike about 35 years old. I striped all the components off the bike, flipped the handle bars upside down and cut them in down, and put the brakes back on. What I am left with is a single speed commuter bike that has orange handlebar tap.


Climbing is fun. Fun is good. Here are some good places.

SOU Rock Gym - Built by the students for the students. The SOU Rock Climbing Gym is volunteer ran by the SOU Rock Climbing Club members.

OSU Rock Gym

Smith Rock State Park - SRSP is the birthplace of Sport Climbing in the United States. We are lucky living in Oregon to have SRSP within a four hour drive from any one location. That being said we still don't get to go climbing there often enough. When we do make it there we make the best of it and usually stay for at least three days.

Rattlesnake Crags


The Grand Canyon


Here are some of the favorite rafting and kayaking spots of ours:


Cal-Salmon - South Fork

Clear Creek - Upper

Illinois River

Klamath River - Upper(Hell's Corner Gorge)

Quartzville Creek - Upper

Rogue River - Wild and Scenic

Rogue River - Nugget/Powerhouse

Rogue River - N.F. (Mill Creek Falls)

N. Santiam River - Dead Cow Wave

Scott River

Trinity River - Burnt Ranch Gorge

North Santiam River: Dead Cow Wave

Last Sunday (Oct. 14) I met up with some folks from The Willamette Kayak and Canoe Club (WKCC) for a paddling session near town. With the current flows on the N. Santiam between 2500 and 3000 at Mehama, a great little surf wave is in. Unfortunately, most of the riverfront property is privately owned, so we couldn’t just drive to the spot. Rather, we had about 7 miles of flatwater paddling altogether to get to the wave and paddle down to the next river access point. These guys were well-prepared though, and brought a barbeque, lots of food, and sunshine.
Here's a shot Kate took of a double surf. I'm in the green boat trying out the new '07 Jackson All-star. Jesse is on the wave in my '06

We had 15 people altogether and took turns riding the wave and enjoying the picnic. The wave was worth the effort and I got a chance to try out several different boats. The downside of paddling different boats is that you find yourself wanting a new kayak. I would share some pictures of my own, but I still don’t have a camera since Pentax won’t honor their warranty. I’ll just have to get a new one and do some more boating!

Tuscan Three Cheese

Chedder Beer

Buffalo Bleu

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Rogue River in October

This last weekend Rogue River Journeys was kind enough to invite us on a rafting trip on the Wild and Scenic Rogue River in Southwestern Oregon. The trip was a huge success thanks to the cooperation of RRJ, Team Kettle, the SOU Whitewater Club, and Rockstar energy drinks.

The trip roster wasn't finalized until Thursday morning, then Thursday evening I met up with Angela, Johnny, and Tanner. The four of us loaded up in the All-Trac and rallied down to Selma, OR for our rendezvous with Travis, Will, Leland, and Julia. We got the gear ready and tried to get some sleep before hitting the water. Travis snores pretty loudly,

Travis snores unless he uses Rockstar to stay awake

but after beaning him with six shoes, two life jackets, and a tent, he finally quieted down and the rest of us could sleep too.

We drove to Graves Creek Boat Launch, loaded up the gear raft, and hit the water. Loaded up with a cooler full of food, three gallons of drinking water, and 48 cans of Rockstar (yes, we actually had twice as much Rockstar as water),

Enjoying the (de)hydrating effects of Rockstar Juiced, Guava flavor

we made good time downstream and were extremely energetic. The Rogue doesn't have much big whitewater, and we skirted the biggest rapid (Rainie Falls) down the fish ladder on the right. Nonetheless, we found plenty of good waves to hit and even a couple surf spots.

We didn't see many rafters, but each pool was littered with driftboats full of steelhead fishermen. Everyone was friendly and thanks to a suggestion from one fishing guide, we found ourselves a nice camp for the evening just below Mule Creek. The weather kept clearing up all day and that night we got to eat a delicious dinner with fresh-baked cake for dessert under the stars. We spent several hours around the big campfire that evening enjoying good company and solitude.

Drying out around the fire

The next day we had a hearty breakfast and got back on the water early. Our wake-up call was the squirrely water of Mule Creek Canyon and Blossom Bar Rapid.

Me rowing through Blossom Bar

We made it downriver without incidence other that me pinballing the raft off the canyon walls a few times.

Many a bear wanted our food

At Tate Creek, we pulled over and some of the more adventurous sorts went up to the natural waterslide despite the cold water. Tanner, Johnny, Leland, and Julia each did a lap on the slide. Our sympathy goes out to Johnny, who had to do it without a wetsuit.

Johnny on the natural waterslide au natural

After our delicious lunch of leftover pasta, bagels, and bleu cheese dressing, we encountered a black bear cub as we were getting ready to depart. Knowing mama bear must not be far, I ushered everyone onto the raft hastily and got out into the river. The cub was particularly curious and followed us, probably hoping we'd feed him. In spite of how outrageously cute the little guy was, we resisted the urge to take him home and continued downstream, ultimately reaching the take out around 3:30. By this time we were all outrageously dehydrated and Rockstars just weren't cutting it. We barely managed to get into dry clothes, load up the rigs, and get to the Agness Store before crashing. When we got to the store we were treated to water, ice cream, cold beer, and the other necessity Travis and I both forgot: Kettle Chips. We cleaned them out on the Kettle Chip selection and devoured them as we drove off on our way. It was a long drive back to Corvallis, but we took shifts behind the wheel and rolled in around 10.

Aside from having no kettle chips and substituting water with Rockstar, this was a great trip. The Rogue is a beautiful river and is a great place to relax and get away on a weekend. After spending my summer running commercial trips and having to do everything, it felt great to lie back and let Travis row the raft for me. I'm blessed to be able to see these kinds of places as often as I do, and it's always rewarding to share the river with other people and make some new friends.

Celebrating warm clothes at the take-out