Training and Mountain Momma

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  • By Marc "Spud" Bartley
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Training and Mountain Momma

Wife's BDay was coming up and normally we slip out of town for a couple days for the end of the summer. Normally we go to Asheville or get some Beachy action.  This year she chose the mountains but a totally different area we had not been to-Blowing Rock-Boone, NC area.  As always there was fun and strangeness.

 

The trip up was mostly us yapping a lot about work, people and other things I normally keep to myself.  I have been a bit stressed lately with things and they bottle up. Also made some decisions about some things I have been thinking on for quite some time.  All life boring shit I can save for another day.

 

We rolled into Blowing Rock which is a sleepy old mountain town. I would call it a throw-back to a by gone era. It is really, nice and clean.  The sign for Blowing Rock was the first thing I saw that was a bit strange. It looked like a girl throwing another person off a cliff.  I didn’t say anything as my eyes play tricks on me a lot.  The wife saw it too and looked it up on the google.   Well apparently, it is an Indian girl and boy from two tribes that fell in love but could not be together. The boy tells the girl that he will come back to her if she prays for him. He jumps off the cliff, dies and does come back to her as the story goes.  My question is WTF kind of love story is that to put on your town's sign! How about just Blowing Rock, if you wanna know why we call it that, look that shit up! It’s a terrible story.

 

The resort where we stayed was nice and clean.  We walk around the Blowing Rock shops for a bit and enjoy dinner and get the usual obnoxious amounts of desserts. Friday, we went to Grandfather Mountain with the Swinging Bridge a mile up in the air along with the Linville Caverns. The bridge was cool with the mile marker in the middle signifying that you were 1 mile up in the air.  It is aluminum now but used to be wood at one time in the past which is creepy as the sway is bit scary and the wind whipping the bridge adds to the scariness.  Across the bridge is the top of Grandfather Mountain, you have to traverse some rocky terrain to get there. I personally thought that would be worse than the bridge as one misstep and off you go with nothing to catch you.  The wife who originally wasn't going to cross the bridge met a lady who wasn't going to cross either, but they decided to go together. This was pretty cool to witness them crossing together. The other lady's son and grandchildren are already on the other side and her joining them was a really big deal for her and the wife.  They have several animal habitats as the former owner, yes owner of the mountain, built the sanctuaries so we visited those as well.

 

After that was Linville Caverns.  These caverns are pretty fabulous.  All those time in class when you had to learn about stalagmites and stalactites came in handy.  It was really wet, very narrow in places but overwhelmingly beautiful. Our guide was very informative and funny.  We found out that the caverns were a revolutionary and confederate hideaway for those not wanting to fight.  The caverns have electric lights built in them. It is lit but not that well lit. Put it this way, at one point in the tour, the guide explains that without the lights they have it is completely pitch black and your eyes never adapt to that darkness, so it is still pitch black. You can't see your hands an inch from your face.  So, imagine fires and torches needed to see down there back then. At one point, he cut the lights out and it was freaky it stayed pitch black for a couple minutes demonstrating his point. His last comment was if you stay down there for a couple of months, you will be completely blind because your eyes can not adapt back to light if you come out!  He goes onto explain also that the water is completely pure as it filters down thousands of feet. This triggers an old memory where I read about water seeping through rock in the desert and being the purest water.  Abruptly, I pick my head up and sip some of the dripping water from the cavern roof. It was really good and yes I did that a few more times. Ended the day in Boone after being disappointed by Banner Elk which picture wise was supposed to be cool.  But Boone is a lot of fun with App state there.

 

Saturday was Tweetsie Railroad day. TR is a small, old amusement park with a steam engine train ride that runs all the way around the park.  I will get back to that. We elected to do the park first then finish with the ride around the park - really good call. The park was fun with the normie things like take pictures on fake horses and buggies. Part of it is the old western town with blacksmith shop, dress up in old time clothes to take pictures , trinket shops and general stores with pop guns and such.  The park has levels so the first and second is the town. The third is rides. They are older rides as I remember in my youth so I have to get on a few.  Last part is a ski lift up to the gem mining, more general store etc with an animal petting zoo at the top. You know the gem mining and panning were a must. I must admit it was kinda fun once you get to it. We got lots of cool stones and panning for fool's gold was quite cathartic. The petting zoo was the funnest as you can buy an ice cream cone full of rabbit food.  All of the animals loved the pet food, but the ice cream cone was what they all wanted.  The Emu was not afraid to reach over and snatch the whole cone out of your hand in a blur. It wass quite amusing.

 

Down the lift we went for the finale of the train ride. That was really why we were here was the ride. The train is an old steam train, and everyone is dressed the part in western clothing. Riding the train was cool and you realize getting around back then was tough. You cut through the woods, slowly to the point where you could probably jog faster than the train is going, but it is nice outside and we got to enjoy the nice coal burning filled air. We were in the first car behind the coal car so the smoke billowing out was quite the site. Pleasant it was still as we pull up to a fake town on the right and the train comes to stop.  They have actors there and deliver a skit straight out of an old western with slap-stick, falling off roofs and gun fighting etc.  They have mics and deliver their lines. It is cute and fun till the end when they are wrapping it up and one of the actors warns another one (who happens to be African American) that he is going to string him up and drag him behind the train. Me and the wife cringe a bit and think maybe they could have given that line to another fellow or taken it out - bit racist Tweetsie railroad.  It ends and the train rolls on. It is a goof western with sort of Blazing Saddles feel but Mel Brooks didn't write this one or did he?  Along the way, they have cabins and other things you would see along the railroad tracks.  We roll around and the next set is Fort Boone mock up.  First thing is a solider firing his guy and yep, you guessed it, at an Indian in full face paint with a tomahawk.  Pursuant is a gun fight and slapstick routine with Indians chasing soldiers and vice versa to Benny Hill music. It is supposed to be funny but again, still a bit racist Tweetsie Railroad.  It ends and we are sorta relieved and we finish the ride around the park.  We both get off and agree that had we done the ride first, we wouldn't have stayed but other than those moments it was still fun.  They probably ought to rethink their skits though. Just sayin...

 

We had a nice dinner and some balcony sitting time and figured we would head out right after breakfast on Sunday. We watched a bit of TV before bed and this show “My Strange Inheritance” came on so we watched it. It is one of those shows where you watch and it is not that interesting but you have to find out how it ends 'cause you just have to.  The show is about a NC couple who collected arrowheads and Indian artifacts for 40 years amassing over 250000 individual pieces all over several states. They framed much of it.  The guy keeps it in his house refusing to sell it or part with any of it.  He has one friend who seems to be down and out most of his life but this man takes care of the owner till he dies. The owner wills the whole collection to his friend under one condition, he never sell it or break it up.  Another guy who is a friend of the guy who inherits it wants the collection. He can't afford what the collection is worth but strikes up a deal to keep the collection all together and display to the public at his attraction.  He offers the owner a $1 from each ticket till it is paid off and then another $1 for the rest of this guy's life. They agree on $300k for the collection.  So we hang on till the end of the show just to know how it ends. Well after many years, the collection is paid off and the guy continues to make money.  We then find out the attraction is right around the corner from us, literally like a couple minutes down the road. It is called Mystery Hill and we must have passed it 20 times over the weekend.  Yep after breakfast we had to go there.

 

Mystery Hill's big attraction is a gravity vortex . No one has been able to explain it but gravity is so strong it does weird things. The room they have is slanted at what seems like 45 degrees or more going downhill.  Well if it was flat you would fall over so and as it is when you stand in the room you literally stand at the same angle as the room.  They have a pipe going up the wall and when you put water in the low end, it goes uphill.  On the other side, you can take a ball and watch it go up a ramp along the wall that goes to the ceiling.  It is quite strange.  They have other carnival type attractions going on and we visit them all and save the arrowhead collection for last.  It is as fascinating and more intriguing then the show does it justice.  To know that two people spent 40 years collecting all of this is bewildering. This was their hobby by the way!  Finally, as I stared at all 250,000 plus pieces including tools you realize all the tribes of people that used these tools hundreds and thousands of years, in some cases, in their daily lives just surviving and making it happen.

 

8/29

  • Activations with Tim Tam and boomstick
  • Reverse Hypers 5x10
  • Hadn't squatted in awhile with the hip/outer quad still acting up. We are working on a different type of general squat/leg training briefs so I wanted to experiment with them by keeping them on for the entire session and doing various exercises.  Put on my weightlifting shoes which if you remember, I got them some time back, used them a few times, sprained my quad and shyed away from them after that. So, I brought them back out for some semi close stance work.  I generally have been an almost straight foot squatter since day one.  On occasion, I have turned the heels in more like a weightlifting squat but it was not comfortable and I did not stick with it.  Lately I have been working this angle on most all leg training to raise this capacity up and see what difference that makes.   I took my time and did not put much weight on the bar and paused at the bottom of each rep. 145x6x6,195x6x6,235x6x6,385x3x3
  • Wide stance two hand swing with 154lb. Turned heels out on this too.  5x10
  • Have not done these for years either. Dale made a hip circley contraption and I tested it out on a few things including the GHR. 4x8. This contraption limited the knee sway out at the bottom which changes impact on hams,adductors and glute firing of movement.
  • Cossacks with contraption around knees and quads for 4x6 per leg
  • Did some pause sissy squats with it as well.
  • Three lap fast walk.  Few joggy runs in back, about 10.

 

8/28

  • Activations with the Tim Tam
  • 20 mins stepmill

 

8/27

  • 3 laps upper body sled. Around a lap and half in I was dying as in work 25 to 50 feet and stop, peel over then try to stand up without passing out.  So, this went on the rest of the way. Did a very slow walk it off lap as well.

 

8/22

  • Activations with Tim Tam and boomstick
  • Reverse hypers 6x8
  • Hammer leg press with band. 3 part set-1/two legx10 2/ One leg x 5 per leg 3/ One leg no lockout x8 per leg for 6 rounds.
  • Two heavy laps with the Charger harness. Absolutely terrible

 

8/21

  • Activations

 

8/20

  • Just a lot of activations

8/19

  • 3 laps regular sled drag

 

8/18

  • Got in late after the chiro appt so help a bit with the guys and did a few things
  • Reverse hypers 8x12
  • Pit shark with our zercher straps 6x8
  • Upper body sled drag medium heavy. 25 minutes. My punishment for not much work

 

8/17

  • Activations with Tim Tam and boom stick
  • Standing rows 10x 20 reps overhand and underhand
  • Benchin’ 275x8reps px4 after a bunch of warm ups with one softee pad
  • Standing rows with cybex using long ab strap 6x12
  • Fat bell presses 5x failure
  • Straight leg 1/4 dips 5x12
  • 15 mins stepmill
  • Fat bar curls 4x12
  • Sand dune curls and presses with fat bell then regular KB.  Sat on stability ball with arm on table with sand dune on top. Did some rotator and curls work combined.

 

8/16

  • 3 laps sled drag

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