Sunday, July 1, 2012

Scooters on sale!!!

Anyone interested in a practically brand new Diggler DSK scooter?

Diggler has made available to us a handful of these disc brake scooters for a bargain price of $450! Brand new, these cost $600 and are, in my opinion, the best scooter out there for urban mushing use.

These are already assembled and were originally purchased about 6 months ago by a fitness camp in San Diego.  Unfortunately, it did not work out as they had originally envisioned with their fitness program and Diggler bought these back from them.

These have basically been in storage and have been used no more than 5 miles (if that) and have only been ridden on pavement.  The scooters have since been transported to the Orange County area and can be conveniently picked up in Costa Mesa, CA.  You will have to make the purchase through Diggler (ask for Rob - 707.775.2452) but let me know right away if you are interested so I can reserve one for you.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Another fun and educational mushing weekend!

I am finally recuperated enough to take a few minutes to write about this weekend --- our 2009 Urban Mushing Clinic was a wonderful time well spent learning more about how to better work with our dogs!

This is the third year in a row that we've held this clinic, all thanks to Carmen Rasmussen who flew down here from Washington state and took the time off of her busy schedule (as a mom of two teenage kids, a Marysville City Council member, and the co-owner of Alpine Outfitters) to spend time, share her experiences, and impart her words of wisdom on our eager group of Southern California urban mushers.

We had about 50 people and their dogs show up on Saturday and Sunday at Fairview Park. Not only was Carmen impressed with how the group continues to grow but she was even more impressed by how we have "dramatically improved" every year she comes to visit. Our dogs run better and are more focused on the trails and she can also see how we, as individuals, are more knowledgeable and more in tune with how to work our dogs.

We also learned a little about the whys and hows of canine chiropractic medicine, thanks to a very informative session conducted by Dr. Rod Block, a certified member of the American Veterinary Chiropractic Association. And we were also paid a surprise visit by our friendly neighborhood, veteran Southern California musher Robert Stradley, who came by to tell us about the upcoming Spring Mush! weekend retreat that he will be hosting at the Harmony Pines campground at the beginning of May (more info on this later on).

The barbecue potluck on Saturday night was a fun time as well, as we feasted on a variety of foods (including the world famous chicken tenders) at the lovely hillside home of Arctis Carts' creator Henning Bartel. And we even got to meet and trade mushing stories with Susan Evenden, the Canadian "Mushing Mum" who is here on a Southern California vacation all the way from Kenora, Ontario.

Altogether it was a great weekend, not just for ourselves but for the dogs as well. We certainly came away from this with a little more knowledge and inspiration to help us train and communicate with our dogs better. Now if only I can "train and communicate with" Obi so that he's not such a loud mouth....

PIctures from the 2009 Urban Mushing Clinic

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Fairview Park undergoing construction and maintenance

Wow --- I am such a slacker! I haven't posted since July....what the heck have I been doing???

Oh well, let me try and get this going again and my first order of business is to let you guys know that there is construction and maintenance going on at Fairview Park. People who frequent our favorite dogscootering trails here in Orange County are aware of this as it has been ongoing since the beginning of this year.

This really does not affect our usage of the park since we pretty much stick to the major trails (which remain open) when we run our dogs. The map I've included here points out the different areas that are closed for construction and maintenance so please make sure to avoid these or any other areas that are marked CLOSED or OFF LIMITS. And as you can see, the primary trails (marked in yellow) are open for use.
BTW, no such construction projects are in progress at Talbert Nature Preserve.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

A not-as-hot Southern California summer

Since we live in Southern California and run dogs, weather is always a concern. While most residents enjoy basking in the typical bright and sunny California weather, we live for the cold and overcast mornings (and yes, even wet) as it allows us to hit the trails with dogs that are even more pumped up about running.

And even though our furballs are more acclimated to warmer weather (than say those who live in the northern regions), we still end up taking most of the summer off as it gets too hot to have them safely run and pull. But we’re usually able to continue running them during the early part of summer, especially along the coast where the morning marine layer and cooler temperatures prevail.

This year, we’ve also had bouts of warmer-than-normal temperatures in the spring and early summer. The Pet Expo comes to mind --- this was held in mid-April and it was an unusually hot weekend. I think it got up to the high 90s and we had to set up misters in the Urban Mushing booth to keep the dogs cool in between working dog demos.

By early May, forecasters were predicting above-average temperatures for this summer. Not something I was looking forward to specially with the summer heat wave and humidity that I experienced these past two years. But apparently, the weather gurus have changed their prediction and are now saying that we are in for cooler-than-expected temperatures for the rest of the summer. I’m keeping my fingers crossed and hope that stays on track.

With that being said though, last weekend’s scooter run at Fairview Park was the last hosted group run for the summer. Time for the dawgies to take the summer off until we pick it back up again in September, maybe even late August, depending on the temperatures. But we will continue to stay active and host some hikes, concentrate on groundwork training, and maybe even set up a camping trip so stayed tuned!

Monday, July 14, 2008

A Fourth of July (virtual) scooter ride

A bit late in posting these but I just wanted to follow-up on my last post as I did finally succeed in taking some videos while dogscootering with Obi and Coal this past Fourth of July.

The videos represent about 85% of a 3-mile ride through the trails of Fairview Park and Talbert Nature Preserve in Costa Mesa. Truly a fun ride with the two siberian brothers and you can enjoy a seemingly virtual scooter ride, except for the pesky blade of grass that got stuck in front of the camera lens during the first couple of videos.

Here they are in chronological order (btw, you have the option of viewing these in high quality mode):

Start of Run --- Blast Off!
The Big Loop Trail - Part 1
The Big Loop Trail - Part 2
Run Through the Old Road Trail
The Mud Run Trail (without the mud)
The Fairview Freeway and the (infamous) Bamboo Trail

On a related note, you can also partake of a virtual "audio" scooter ride by listening to a taped broadcast by Oregon Public Broadcasting radio host Emily Harris of her first dogscootering experience while riding through the streets of Vancouver, Washington:


Sunday, June 29, 2008

Easy like Sunday morning

It was a beautiful Sunday morning at Fairview Park today --- the marine layer did not stick around so it was sunny but cool as the temperatures never got up past 68F during our run. Six dog teams hit the trail today, including the schnauzers Einstein and Sally while Ruby the 8-month old husky newbie hiked along and later on did a short run in harness with Einstein.

Today I ran with the two brothers, Obi and Coal --- all legs, a lot of brawn and extremely driven. It's always a joy to run with these two as they are so evenly matched and just love to pull. It has been awhile since I've run them together and they definitely have gotten so much stronger that running them on a scooter has now become, umm, a little bit scary.

And along for the ride, so to speak, was our resident tourist Silver. Silver has a lot of speed but at just about a year old, he is a bit "focus-challenged". Often times, he prefers to look around and watch the sights (much like a turista) or better yet, grab onto the neck of any unsuspecting dog running next to him specially if they happen to be his adopted sisters Gaia or Gidget. But when you put him at single wheel with the Bash Brothers on lead keeping the line tight and setting the pace, then it helps him maintain his focus.

So off we went for a 3.2 mile run down the asphalt, around the Big Loop, Behind the Fence, on to The Freeway, detouring through the Mud Run, zooming past Damnation Alley and finally back on to The Freeway before taking a water break at the Talbert Nature Preserve picnic area.

There were 5 teams that were running together and they were all running great! No tangles, not much goofing off, just smooth focused running. And today I made it a point to mount my digital camera onto my handlebars so I can take videos. I purposely rode the brakes to hold my team back and bring up the rear so I could be in a position to take some action movies.

I could only imagine how the footage would turn out specially as we ran through the Mud Run, where the dogs always put on an extra burst of speed. And even though we started at the back of the pack, my team soon moved out front but before long, I heard somebody shout "Trail!" right behind me. I glanced back and lo and behold, it was Henning and the all girl team of Gidget, Gaia and Lyka.

My team gee'd over but nobody passed us. So I slowed them down once we rounded the bend through Old Road Junction and soon Henning and his team went past us as well as Matt and the Reds (Blue, Scarlet and Noah). This would make for some exciting footage, I thought to myself as all three teams hit Damnation Alley and suddenly went into turbo mode. It was a mad dash out of there with Henning's team leading the way. But the boys weren't about to let the girls get too far away so we shot past the Reds (we were going so fast that I had to squint in order to prevent all the sand and grit particles that were shooting off of the front scooter tire from getting into my eyes) and then took that sharp turn back on to The Freeway.

But Henning and the girls continued to keep their fast pace. I was pleasantly surprised at how motivated they were --- even though Gaia is a fast runner, Gidget usually prefers life in the slow lane while Lyka is my slacker dog. But today, all three were running fast and smooth and continued to churn and burn in front of us, giving the boys a run for their dog treats. In the end, we did catch up with them and barely beat them at the finish line for a much deserved water break and rest under the cool shade of the picnic area.

So the dogs all took a break as we hung out and commented on how great a run they had. The running season is all but ended and our dogs have definitely gotten stronger, faster and healthier than they were nine months ago. Yes, they were tired, with slobber and drool coming out of their mouths, but they were happy and seemingly content and fulfilled. After all, they were running with their buddies and getting to do what they were born to do --- what more can you ask for?

We eventually made our way back up to the parking lot, taking a direct, shorter route as it was starting to warm up. It was a beautiful day and life was good....and all the more reason to take it easy like a Sunday morning should be.

(BTW, as it turns out, I was pressing the wrong button on my digital camera the whole time that I thought I was filming. So no videos were recorded but I did get some action shoots, some of which are posted on this blog. I guess I have a long ways to go before coming close to being a Warren Miller but it was still a heck of a fun ride!)

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Mush on!

Welcome to the urban mushing blog....finally! I say this because I finally got off my lazy butt and am actually posting the first blog entry. What the heck --- it's only been over 4 months since Claire first set up this blog which is linked from the Urban Mushing website. But I promise, from hereon, I will be updating this blog on a regular basis.

Speaking of, the first thing I want to do is thank Claire Mardesich for everything she has done for our urban mushing group here in Southern California. Both she and husband Matt are owners of our favorite source of doggy treats, Three Dog Bakery in San Clemente. They are avid supporters of this sport and the Southern California Working Snow Dogs and are the nicest couple you would ever meet. And with their six siberian huskies and one spotted husky (aka Duncan the Dalmatian), the Mardesiches are all about having fun with the dogs.

And for those of you who don't know it, Claire is the web mistress behind the urban mushing website. She also volunteers her time by maintaining the website for Husky Camp, in between baking all those tasty dog biscuits . And of course, she and Matt are operating their store full time so I am not really sure where she finds the time and energy to do all this. She must part husky.....

By the way, we did run the dogs today at Fairview Park. The weather was great, specially considering that it is summer time. But the marine layer stuck around and it stayed cool and overcast throughout our run with temperatures hovering between 66F - 68F. We will be running again tomorrow, although it will probably warm up sooner than it did today. Not sure how much longer we will be able to run the dogs before we take a break from the ever warming summer temperatures and then start running again in early fall for the '08-'09 season.

We had quite a decent turnout today --- Kaitlyn, an 11-year old newbie that just recently joined the group with her mom and dad and their husky Sitka, was counting dogs early on and she was up to 27 but more were showing up. It's really great to see all these happy dogs getting together and having a great time.

I will have to sign off for now but I will probably post again tomorrow and let you know how Sunday's run turned out.

Mush on....and enjoy the ride!