Friday, June 28, 2013

Evolv Royale lace up

I am so not shoe obsessed! ...well maybe a little but in the world of adventure sports, shoes can be a make or break item, certainly essential for some activities, climbing being one of those. So, I'm trying a pair of Evolv Royale lace ups. It's another trad shoe with a suede upper similar to the 5-10 Coyote I've come to know and love. (Still in good shape by the way!)

The Royale is comfortable for wide feet and has a slightly more broad sole that works well for smearing but remains stiff enough for edging. The toe isn't terribly pointy but presents enough to get the job done. Good for both gym climbing and outdoor stuff where you are going to be on route for a while. The laces are nice on leather shoes as the uppers can stretch with heat and moisture and be easily pulled tighter on the go. This wouldn't be an issue with synthetic material shoes but I like my shoes to break in at least a little and I feel like the suede breathes better. Just my opinion but I'm sure I'm not alone in it.

So far it's a nice pair of shoes. Thinking it may be time to dedicate a pair foe gym climbing and other for outdoor. Once I put some more time in with them I'll post again. Either way they are affordable and good looking if you like trad shoes.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Climbing at Ocean Beach

There is a lot of climbing in San Francisco, even in the city proper. Some spots are well known and others you'll almost always have to yourself. A little frequented place for climbing is Ocean beach below the Cliff House. It's best to go at low tide and be discrete but you can get in some great bouldering and free solo routes that probably should be top roped or done with a lead climber placing protection. It's certainly high enough to get hurt and be completely out of safe bouldering range.

You can also find a few small caves at low tide if you look carefully. They are mostly tiny things or simply big piles of breakdown. I've never found any sand caves in this area but I would caution anyone who may to stay out of them, as in completely avoid them, sand caves just aren't safe.

It was definitely a good place to test a Go Pro 3 the other day. I'd say it's probably money well spent to get the remote but most smart phones will do the job as well, if only within wifi range of the phone. For sure a good way to document antics and adventures, especially when  you venture out alone, something I do often. Looking forward to giving it a go sailing and on the long board as well as more climbing and bicycle trips.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Farewell to The Grove

One of my favorite places to grab coffee and an occasional breakfast burrito is, was, The Grove restaurant on Chestnut. Alas it is no more. A Marina neighborhood icon since the 90's, recently closed due to a rent increase, gentrification at it's best. All quips and socio-political commentary aside, the ubiquitous we will miss the place. Coincidentally, the nearby Peet's Coffee is also closing, leaving us with Starbucks, Noah's Bagels and the hold out Chestnut Coffee Roasters  as a remaining local business option.

The Grove has a handful of other local locations, the one on Filmore is great and the Hayes Valley venue, while not as "warm", is in a fun neighborhood for evenings out. One of my favorite things to do after morning rides over the bridge was to roll into the Marina location and meet friends for coffee by the fireplace. Maybe I can talk The Blackwood down the street into firing up their hearth for morning visits to soothe my caffeine and *Cro-Magnon needs to sit near a fire.

Also coincidentally, I went on a bicycle foraging day trip and brought back a couple pounds of wild berries and rode by the now closed location undergoing the last phases of being gutted. Near the front doors was a box of books, containing among other titles, a book about cultivating, cooking and decorating with berries. How cool is that? A literal final chapter to The Grove on Chestnut St.

*Noting the current consensus that Cro-Magnon is Sapiens Sapiens and my being of Northern European extraction. 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Machine made glass in the archaeological record

Glass, it's been in every historic site I have ever worked on. Even digs in what look like empty fields usually contain glass and it's usually broken bottles of one kind or another. Sometimes it serves as a nice indicator of the era you are dealing with and whether or not you have cleared disturbed soil or are simply in historic strata. In short, it's useful. Especially if you learn to tell machine made bottles from mouth blown, not dead simple but an off the cuff indicator that you are working with something post 1903 is the presence of machine made bottles. Pretty cool. 1903 was the year a guy by the name of Michael Owens unveiled what the Corning glass company calls the most significant advance in glass production on over 2000 years.

The knowledge of how to go about dating bottles can be gained in a number of ways, field and lab work, hours of nosing through antique stores and eBay or, thankfully, via a handy site run by a Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management employee! Whew that's a lot of bureau but it's a great resource laid out so you can look at an artifact and run through a series of questions to help pin point the date of a given bottle within ten years or so of it's date of manufacture. Absolutely worth checking out if you have even minor interest in the topic.