Another Fantastic Kayak Trip on the Buffalo River

Ride 115 - Tarpon 100
It was a picture perfect day on Friday, May 24th.  My son and I made the 1.5 hour drive from our home to our launching point - the Ponca low-water bridge.  We have our own sit-on-top kayaks, but you can rent kayaks, canoes, and rafts from a number of local concessionaires.  We really like the folks at Lost Valley Canoe - we have used them several times to drive our truck down to our take-out point at Kyles Landing.  Very convenient and saves you an hour and gas shuttling a second vehicle.
Unfortunately without some additional rain, the floating season will be ending soon.  The water was already very shallow in 4 or 5 spots along our float.

Name Tags for Kayaks and Canoes

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Last weekend I was kayaking on the Buffalo River in Northwest Arkansas. The river was quite high and was running very fast (for the Buffalo).  On our 8+ mile run, I must have seen at least 20 kayaks and canoes that had either tipped over, capsized or gotten completely away from their owners. Fortunately I just got wet but it got me thinking about putting a name tag/plate on my kayak in case I was ever separated from it.  You can get a laser engraved name plate over at  They also make tags for your dry bags and your luggage too.  YourBagTag is owned by a family member.

Pigeon Roost Trail - A Hobbs State Park Gem


My relocation to Bentonville, Arkansas last summer rekindled my love for all things outdoors.  To help guide the exploration of my new home, I received a wonderful book for Christmas - "Arkansas Hiking Trails #3", written by TIm Ernst. It is a detailed guide to 78 selected trails in Arkansas.  With picture perfect weather for hiking (sunny, 65 degrees,and a light breeze), it was off to trail #56 - Pigeon Roost Trail.

Pigeon Roost is one of the many trails available in Hobbs State Park.  Hobbs is Arkansas's largest state park in land area, covering a 12,056-acre tract of diverse Ozark landscape along the southern shore of 28,370-acre Beaver Lake.  Pigeon Roost is a moderate hike with 4.2 and 8.4 mile loops.  I chose the 4.2 mile "Dry Creek" loop for my hike.  At about 1.9 miles, the trail opens to a beautiful view and direct access to one of the many fingers of Beaver lake.  The trail is well-maintained and a beautiful place to spend an afternoon hiking.

The Marshmallow Challenge


While searching for an icebreaker that would help an audience understand and visualize the many intricate connections and relatioships offered by social media platforms, I came across a fascinating 7 minute video of Tom Wujec's TED Marshmallow Challenge presentation.  Tom is a Fellow at Autodesk and recognized as a thought-leader and award-winning innovator.  You can learn more about him on his personal website,

The challenge?  

In eighteen minutes, teams of four must build the tallest freestanding structure out of 20 sticks of spaghetti, one yard of tape, one yard of string, and one marshmallow. The marshmallow has to be on top.

So who would you rather have on your team?  Recent Business School graduates?  CEOs?  Executive Admin. Assisstants?  Or perhaps, Kindergardeners?  The results may surprise you.

Check it out for yourself by clicking and watching the video.


Funny Signs Website

Funny Signs Compilation

Are you looking for an icebreaker for your next presentation or perhaps a humerous image to amplify a point?  Then why not head over to  FunnySigns is a website that my company has been working on as a living case study for search engine optimization practices. 

It contains over 300 images, rated and categorized for easy viewing.

Reflections from the Back Seat Blog by Gretchen Miller Selfridge


In the interest of full transparency, this post highlights the Blog - Reflections from the Back Seat, the personal thoughts, poems, and photographs authored by a family member, my sister-in-law, Gretchen Miller Selfridge. Gretchen serves on the executive board for the organization, Global Strategies for HIV Prevention.  In this role she has traveled extensively in Africa (Liberia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, and Central African Republic to name just a few).  The posts in her blog are not clinical descriptions of "what I did today" but rather sharing of the thoughts that ran through her mind as she went about her days - meeting with hospital and clinic staffs serving those in poverty.  I am both intrigued and moved by her "muses and rambles from far away".  One of my favorites so far is her poem, Are Questions to be Answered?    Please click over and give it a read, you will not be disappointed!

TOMS Shoes - A purchase with a 2 for 1 benefit for charity

I wrote a blog post about the TOMS Shoes brand this morning on my professional blog,, highlighting it's "Brand as a Movement" stature.  In researching that post, I came across an opportunity to support two different charitable causes with a single purchase -- TOMS Water Earthwise Men's Classic Shoes.  Not only will TOMS contribute a new pair of shoes to a child in need but they will also fund the construction of three new clean water wells in Ethiopia.  So consider adding a snappy pair of TOMS to your closet and feel twice as good about your purchase.

EVERNOTE - The Application That I Can't Live Without


I came across this application about 4 months ago while reading an online article about EVERNOTE for the iPad.  Their pitch - capture anything, access everywhere, find things fast, remember everything!  And that is exactly what this software does.  You can install it on your Mac, PC, iPhone, iPad, Android phone, Blackberry, Windows Mobile ... you get the idea.

You capture your information by typing it in, capturing from your mobile phone, talking to your iSight camera in your laptop, from clipper buttons you install in your favorite browser.  The application then sends it up to your central EVERNOTE account in the "cloud".  You can arrange your notes in virtual notebooks, specify tags, and EVERNOTE even indexes the text in the photo of the whiteboard drawing you took in your last meeting.  The price?  FREE!  Now that comes with advertising and storage restrictions but for $45/year for the premium service -- ads are gone -- more storage, secure data transfer, etc.

I use this application for all kinds of different situations now:

  • Browse a website I want to remember later - clip
  • Want to have a central place for all those business cards you collect?  Snap a quick image with your iPhone camera and then you can just type the name in the search bar
  • Notes of that whiteboard drawing
  • Flight info
  • Find a book in bookstore but don't want to pay bookstore prices - snap a photo - off to Evernote!

Check it out, it really is a fantastic way to keep your information organized.

Plainfield Marching Band - Friday Night Light


One of my friends, Alex Garcia, is an award winning photojournalist for the Chicago Tribune.  He has an amazing eye for life and his images are consistently beautiful.  His work is featured on a blog called "Assignment Chicago".  On Tuesdays he offers a series of posts called "Tuesday Photo TIps" that can help bring out the award winning photographer in all of us.  Click on over and enjoy! 

Urban Power Backpack from Outdoor Products Fits the Bill


My Swiss Army laptop backpack finally wore out after almost six years of daily use and thousands of miles of global air travel.  While looking for a new backpack for my son who was going away to college, I came across this little jewel.  I bought one for him and liked it so much I went back to REI to pick up one for myself.  The layout for all of the various cord/chargers/USB thumb drives, etc. is very well thought out and I carry a 15" MacBook Pro in the padded rear laptop compartment.  Comes in Red or Black.  Again I purchased mine at REI ($76) but I know that Amazon carries it as well.  Additional photos and specs at the Outdoor Products website.