Gear Testing Trial

When the parcel arrived on my doorstep – light, flat, and on the small side – I thought it was a pair of socks. Does Columbia make socks? That was my second thought. They do, but who knew you could fit a whole coat in a sock-sized parcel? I was thrilled, ecstatic, jumping for joy… until I tried it on.


The airy fabric of the windbreaker floated over my shoulders, the lightly elasticized cuffs hugged the wrist without pressure, but the sizing was on the slim side. Sadly, I have hips. My daughter was thrilled, ecstatic, jumping for joy. “Besides,” she pleaded, “ you already have a running coat and I don’t.”

I wasn’t ready to give it up. The promise of this windbreaker was its ultra-lightweight pack-ability. It would be ideal for our upcoming spring trip paddling Utah’s Green River and cycling a little slick rock. It would work perfectly for early season training runs (as I write, the grey skies outside are puking freezing rain).  It would work well for the winds that have been known to howl from time to time on the east side of the Rockies.

“It would perfect for short hikes,” my seasonally, park-employed daughter wheedled. “I could use it for trail runs getting ready for the half.”


I caved… but not without demanding that she model and let me know how it works on a trail run!


Looks good!


NYC: The Planning

Spur-of-the-moment trip to New York City?

Sort of.


I promised my daughter a trip to see a Broadway show when she turned 21. The year has arrived, but we when we sat down to look at dates close to the big day, it just wasn’t working. Googling airfares, I quickly realised that Springtime was several hundred dollars per person cheaper than Autumn and the timing works.

Why not go now?

Step One: Book a flight
We used Travelocity and Expedia to narrow down the options and then were going to book directly with the airline. The fare changed, so we quickly nabbed the lower price with Travelocity before it was gone!

Step Two: Secure accommodation
This took time. We scoured guidebooks for options and checked out their websites; visited TripAdvisor for ratings; and finally checked out HomeAway on recommendation from a friend. Found a studio apartment that met our needs, Google-mapped the neighbourhood, “walked” the street from the accommodation to the nearest subway station and searched for guest reviews. All good, accommodation booked.

Step Three: Score some theatre tickets
The hardest part about this is deciding what to see! Luckily, we were both in agreement, chose the best date, went online to the theatre’s website, picked the seats, charged it to a credit card, and the tickets were in the mail.

Step Four: Research What-Not-to-Miss
Probably the most enjoyable part of the whole experience. NYC’s star locations trip off the tongue with the ease of familiarity: Central Park, Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Staten Island, Brooklyn Bridge, East Side, West Side… But do we really know where these are in relation to one another? No.

We decided a good way to get our bearings pre-trip was to hold a movie marathon. Selection was limited, but we scored four NYC movies: Maid in Manhattan, New Year’s Eve, New York, I Love You and How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. All showed the city skyline and several iconic buildings, but New Year’s Eve rankest highest in our books for showing off more of the tourist side of the city.

Add to this a few – okay, a half dozen or so – guidebooks and we’re feeling set to go!

Wait a minute, I forgot to mention one other research tool – recommendations from friends and acquaintances.

What would you suggest as must-see in NYC?