First Day of Spring 2011

The first day of spring, commonly known as the spring equinox, occurs this year on March 20, 2011.

The spring equinox officially occurs at 23:31 UTC.

The equinox occurs twice each year, when the center of the sun is in the same place as the axis of the earth. On this day, the length of day and night are roughly the same – 12 hours each.

In the northern hemisphere, the spring equinox marks the traditional passage of seasons from winter to spring.

The spring equinox is also known as the vernal equinox, from the Latin for “spring” and “equal night.”

There are many cultural traditions associated with the first day of spring, including the religious celebration of Ostara. Christian churches typically celebrate Easter on the first Sunday after the first full moon, on or after the first day of spring.  Easter Sunday occurs this year on April 24, 2011.

The first day of spring 2011 falls one day after the full moon on March 19, 2011.

The Greek mathematician and astronomer Hipparchus is widely thought to have discovered the equinoxes.

The fall equinox (a.k.a. autumnal equinox) takes place on September 23, 2011, at 9:04 UTC.

Westminster Dog Show 2011

The 135th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show will take place February 14-15, 2011.

Westminster Dog Show

2,500 dogs from all 179 breeds an varieties recognized by American Kennel Club will participate. The event is known as a “conformation show” which judges dogs based on how well they conform to expectations of their particular breed.

The 2010 award for Best in Show went to “Ch Roundtown Mercedes Of Maryscot,” a.k.a. “Sadie,” a Scottish Terrier owned by Amelia Musser.

The first show took place on May 8, 1877, and was originally focused on gun dogs – pointers and setters. Hunters brought their dogs for show, and prizes included items such as pearl handled pistols.

The 2011 event will take place in Madison Square Garden, New York, NY.

Paul Bunyan Day

According to American and Canadian folklore, Paul Bunyan was a giant lumberjack who roamed the countryside with his giant blue ox named Babe, felling large forests and clearing land for farmers.

Paul Bunyan

As the story goes, he cleared the entire states of North Dakota and South Dakota for farming, among other amazing feats.

Depending upon on where you live, Paul Bunyan Day is celebrated February 12 or June 28. Many towns across the U.S. and Canada celebrate Paul Bunyan day with logging festivals and related activities. He is often depicted as a gentle giant, and there a many larger-than-life statues of Paul and his ox Babe across North America.

Note that his name is also spelled “Paul Bunyon,” but the correct spelling is “Paul Bunyan.”

The legend of giant Paul Buynan as a lumberjack of superhuman capacity is played out in modern day lumberjack competitions, most notably in the Stihl Timbersports competition each spring and summer. It features sawing, chainsawing, climbing, chopping, and other logging related events.

Lake Shore Drive Closed

Chicago’s Lake Shore Drive continued to be closed Wednesday due to the blizzard that crippled the city of Chicago and a significant portion of the midwest prednisone earlier this week. Hundreds of stranded motorists had already been rescued. The city estimated that 700 to 900 vehicles were effected by the standstill.

This weekend’s RV shows

Louisville Boat, RV and Sportshow – January 26-30, 2011

San Antonio Boat and RV Show – January 27-30, 2011

Calgary RV Exposition and Sale – January 27-30, 2011

Halifax RV Show – January 27-30, 2011

Ocala (FL) RV Show – January 27-30, 2011

Central Gulf Coast Boat, Sport, and RV Show – January 28-30, 2011

This weekend’s boat shows

Seattle Boat Show – January 27-30, 2011

Montreal Boat Show – January 27-30, 2011

Louisville Boat, RV and Sportshow – January 26-30, 2011

Baltimore Boat Show – January 27-30, 2011

Central Gulf Coast Boat, Sport and RV Show – January 28-30, 2011

Strictly Sail Chicago – January 27-30, 2011

What is a Polar Bear Plunge?

Dipping into frigid water on a freezing cold winter day isn’t just for polar bears. Each winter, thousands of people around the country join forces to take a “Polar Bear Plunge.”

A Polar Bear Plunge (or “Swim”) is the name for a winter dip into an icy cold body of water. Often these Plunges are organized annually to benefit a charitable or non-profit organization. In Canada, they are often held to celebrate the start of the New Year and swimmers participate on January 1. And sometimes, for those who really like to freeze their you-know-whats off, they are a weekly event, such as the weekly Sunday swim that members of the Coney Island Polar Bear Club take.

Many of the Polar Bear Plunges are organized to benefit the Special Olympics. Here are a few locations with upcoming Plunges that are raising money for this great organization:

Rochester, NY
New Jersey

We would love to hear about your experiences with a Polar Bear Plunge!

Step it up a notch with an extreme adventure race

If you are already bored with keeping up with your New Year’s Resolution to get fit, you might want to consider making things a bit more exciting by training for a 2011 Adventure Race.

Designed with the extreme outdoor enthusiast in mind, Adventure Races typically combine two or more endurance disciplines such as mountain biking, canoeing or kayaking, climbing, and cycling. These disciplines are often paired with some form of orienteering or navigation and the races are typically done in teams. Some races last hours and some last a few days or even weeks. Each team or participant must prednisone carry with them certain mandatory safety and race related items and it should be noted that, due to the grueling nature of the races, not everyone crosses the finish line, but that is hardly the point.

Think you have what it takes? Check out one of these sites for their 2011 schedule of races:

Colorado and Utah: Adventure Xstream Series – here

Arkansas: Ozark Extreme Adventure Racing – here

Pennsylvania: American Adventure Sports – here

Maryland and Virginia: EX2 Adventures – here

British Columbia:  Raid the North – here

Nationwide (as well as Australia and British Columbia): The Warrior Dash – here (This race is more of an obstacle course with lost of mud, some fire and also beer. At least one of us  here at is scheduled for a Warrior Dash in 2011…stay tuned for race results sometime this summer!).

National Parks are free this weekend to honor MLK, Jr.

While many of our nation’s 394 national parks charge no entrance fee, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar recently announced that the National Park Service will waive entrance fees to all of its national parks this weekend, January 15 – 17, in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr.  On January 17th’s Day of Service, many parks will even be hosting volunteer events to honor nizagara Dr. King.

You probably live within a few hours of a national park. Wouldn’t this free entrance weekend be a great time to visit one? A list of participating parks by state can be found on the NPS website.

Sacramento International Sportsmen’s Exposition

This 4-day exposition, said to be the largest in Northern California, features seminars and presentations on camping, Dutch oven cooking, and fly fishing, among others topics, as well as outdoor products represented by more than 500 vendors.

On Thursday, January 21, a free fair for children under 12 will focus on introducing them to camping, hiking, and fishing through hands-on activities.

Also part of the exposition is a DockDogs challenge where dogs compete by jumping off a dock into water. The winner is invited to a national competition.


Sacramento International Sportsmen’s Exposition

Jan 20-23, 2011

Cal Expo

1600 Exposition Blvd

Sacremento, CA

Adults $15; ages 16 and under are free

Parking: $10


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