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It’s about time for New Year’s Resolutions again… so READ this article then take the Meatless Monday Pledge! It’s good for you- and Paul McCartney agrees!

Adventure Foot

I’m a big Beatles fan, but not every song the “Four” write is Fab.  I submit exhibit A:

Okay, this one isn’t “Hey Jude” caliber, but I love the message nonetheless.  McCartney is a champion of the worldwide Meatless Monday movement.  Sir Paul is a rather famous vegetarian himself, but I think he realizes that strict vegetarianism isn’t a lifestyle everyone is going to choose.  Rather than suggest

everyone go straight from hamburgers to celery, Paul suggests we all just take one day a week and declare it a meat-free holiday!

Personally, I love this idea.  My husband and I started Meatless Mondays last year (for the most part…) and I liked it so much that I generally try to stay meat free 2 days a week now.  There are so many good reasons to give this a try:

  1. Your Health!  Eating more veggies is good for us in all…

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Cyclists have the same rights,  have to follow the same rules…

but now, can have a WAY cooler licence plate than everyone else on the road!

Beginning May 1, Illinois motorists may visit the Secretary of State’s Specialty Licence Plate Website and order their own “Same Rights, Same Rules” licence plate for their cars, vans or light trucks.  (Cars… you know… the thing you occasionally strap your bike to in order to take it to some exotic location…? )  The plates are $51 if you get random digits, more for personalization.   The website didn’t list total allowable characters yet, but I believe it’s only 4-5 tops.

The plate was designed by Bryan Werner of Collinsville, Illinois and will both spread the message of motorist and bicycle safety, as well as raise money for the League of Illinois Bicyclists‘ efforts to expand bike lanes and motorist education programs.

Check it out:

In addition to the new bicycle themed plates, Adventure Foot Readers might also be interested in:

Enviromental Plates- which support the State Park fund

Pet Friendly Plates which support a pet overpopulation spay and neuter fund:

Park District Youth which supports kids programming:

Or the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics:

There is also a Sporting Series which can feature White Tail Deer, Pheasant, Duck, Goose, Turkey or Bass:

 

Update! I should have mentioned- Illinois is just the latest state to get the bicycle plates.

 Iowa and Missouri already had them! Both available on their DOT websites!

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I was listening to CNN while I was getting ready for work the other day when I heard a headline about a “dramatic increase in gun sales” over the holiday season.  A spokesperson from the NRA attributed it to Americans feeling unsafe and wanting to defend themselves.  I think you probably could have seen me roll my eyes from the next county over.  Excepting for a moment that background checks do not equal gun sales (for example, you can’t pawn a gun without a background check), and ignoring the fact that the gun industry has never released sales figures (thanks to aggressive lobbying by the NRA and NSSF to keep those numbers secret), this sensationalistic supposition that the increased sales were to people looking to defend themselves is completely unsupported by any hard data.

You see, I grew up around guns.   My dad was actually one heck of an amateur trap shooter.  I’m sure many of you know sport shooters and hunters, and frankly, none of them are keeping their 12-gauge shotgun by their pillows at night. As a matter of fact, most are keeping their guns in safe locked cabinets, because they know that people are more likely to be injured from an unsecured gun than from a rogue intruder.

Laura with a 12 gauge shotgun in Spring 2011.

Enough of my soap box though- this is an adventure blog and the reason I’m writing today is to talk about what sport trap shooting is, how it works, and why it’s a great adventure!

American Trap Shooting can basically be broken into 3 categories: single trap, double trap and handicap.  In all cases, there is a trap launching machine placed in the center of a field.  The machine throws brightly colored, 4.25”

Clay Pigeon or "Bird"

Trap shooting lay out, credit Iweb

hard clay disks for the shooters to target.  Five shooters stand behind the trap house in a fan shaped range and take turns calling for a target or “bird” from an official, who normally sits just behind the shooters.  In singles and doubles, the shooters will be positioned 16 yards behind the trap house.  In handicapped rounds, shooters will be positioned according to earned difficulty.  Shooting a certain number of good rounds at a given yard line will earn the shooter a higher handicap and will back them up further from the trap house, up to a maximum distance of 27 yards.   Handicaps are governed by the amateur Trap Association (ATA) and can only be earned in registered events.

The guns used for American Trap Shooting are generally 12-gauge single or double barreled shotguns.  Double barreled guns can be side-by-side or over-and-under configurations.  The most common ammunition is probably Winchester AA or Remington STS loads, though there are many brands available.  The rounds consist of plastic shells with primers filled with shot, powder, and wadding.  Some shooters reload and reuse spent shells to cut down on costs.

In single trap rounds, one target is launched from the trap house at a random trajectory that can be anywhere within a 35 degree horizontal arc and a 45 degree elevation in front of the trap house.  You’ve probably seen something like this if you’ve ever played Nintendo’s Clay Shooting on the Duck Hunt game!  In doubles, 2 targets will be launched simultaneously but each has a different flight pattern.  Targets fly at about 40-60 mph, depending on the conditions.

My sister Brandi hits a target. Look closely and you can see the pieces.

My dad, Tracy, "smokes" a target- or hits it so perfectly that no large pieces remain.

Standard trap rounds are 50, 100 or 200 targets, with 100 being the most common.  Each shooter gets 25 targets and then rotates to the next station.  Many “fun” or non-registered rounds will consist of 125 targets so that the squad will shoot from all 5 positions.

In events, team cohesion is very important.  The five shooters develop a rhythm of calling for their targets and if a team member breaks that rhythm for, say, a jammed shell or a target that comes out of the trap house broken, it can break the concentration of everyone on the squad.  It’s actually almost musical to listen to a good team.   Each member has their own call for a target (my dad says “haw!”), each gun has unique percussive sound, and even the shells pop out and hit the ground in a predictable way.

My brother Chris uses a hand-launcher to throw targets.

There are many variations on the traditional trap shooting I described above which use different types of targets (ex: Rabbits), different configurations of target launchers (ex: skeet shooting), different types of rounds (ex: Olympic Trap) and different placement of shooters.  All of these are fun opportunities to test your skills use a gun in a sporting way.   Any target practice and safe use of guns can be a great way to get your Adventure Foot out the door to try something new.

Tyler launches targets from a manual trap station. Gun clubs have automatic button-fired launchers.

There are many resources you can consult to learn more, or you can visit a local gun club to watch a registered event.  Here are a few links to get you started!

DNR Safety Courses: http://www.dnr.illinois.gov/safety/Pages/default.aspx

Trap Shooter Info Site: http://www.trapshooters.com/

Find Gun Clubs Here: http://www.claytargetsonline.com

Gun Clubs in our area include: The South Side Boat Club, West Quincy Gun Club, Smoking Gun Hunting Club (Hamilton, IL).

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Archive: First Blog

This blog was my first for the Quincy Herald Whig’s Local Q.  It’s here for nostalgia’s sake.

Hello, I’m Laura Sievert, and I’m new to The Local Q and the “Get Out” blog.  The “Get Out” blog is a source for outdoor and active lifestyle articles from here in the region. I’m an enthusiastic and engaged Quincy native, and am excited to share some of my experiences with you.

If I only had time to tell you one thing on this blog, it would be:

Adventure is out there.

Lucky for me, I can tell you lots of things.  It is, after all, a blog.  So I thought I’d start by explaining a little bit of what I will add to the “Get Out” blog.

What this blog is to me:
I hope it to be a great resource for creative ideas to get out and about in the greater Quincy area. We’re living in an amazing part of the country. There are over 120 State Parks or designated recreational areas in Illinois alone. That’s thousands of acres to explore. There are limestone caves, amazing wildlife, geologic and historic sites, a desert (Yes, a sand and cactus filled desert in Illinois. I’m not kidding.), rivers, lakes, wetlands, prairies, places to climb, hunt, hike, swim and ski. You get the idea. We might not have the Rocky Mountains in our backyard, but we’ve got plenty of great ways to “Get Out” and have an adventure.

“Get Out” will also feature local sports, teams, clubs and activities you may not have heard about. Have you ever heard of Wally Ball? Do you wonder when sign up for sand volleyball starts? Ever thought about joining a bike club?  What’s ultimate about a frisbee? I’ve got you covered.

Adventure is not intimidating! You don’t have to be an Olympic-caliber athlete to get out and experience our area. I hope to present lots of options for the adventurous souls of all levels. You can bookmark pages that interest you. Go attend a meeting of a club. Click on links and plan your own trip. Reading about an adventure is good; going out and having an adventure is great!

I very much hope you enjoy this blog. I’m excited to learn and have adventures right along with you. To co-opt a quote from the legendary mountaineer, Sir Edmund Hillary:  “Why ‘Get Out’ and explore our area? Because it’s there.”

 

March 3, 2011

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The HRRWC Social Run.

I went to Kelly’s Restaurant the past two Tuesday nights, but it wasn’t for the cheese soup or the cinnamon rolls.  In fact, it was for a much healthier purpose all together.   I was there to meet with theHeartland Road Runners and Walkers Club and participate in their evening social run!

The HRRWC is a chapter of the Road Runners Club of America.  Their mission is to promote walking, running and active lifestyles for people of all ages and fitness levels.  The Quincy Club has many scheduled group runs, including the one I participated in the last two weeks.

I’m a pretty active person, but running has always been tough for me.  I’m slow and maybe a little self-conscious, and I was really intimidated by the idea of running with a group.  Many members of the Quincy Bicycle Club are also members of HRRWC though, and they kept telling me I needed to give running with the club a shot.  At the very least I thought it would give me something new to blog about, so I laced up my Mizunos and went out to meet the club.

The Tuesday evening social runs meet in the parking lot at a different Quincy restaurant each month.  This month the run meets at Kelly’s at 6:45.  I talked my friend Jeremy into going to with me, and when we arrived, there was about a dozen runners ranging in age from 15 to 55 standing in the parking lot.  I didn’t really know what to expect from there. I knew a few of the people there were amazing athletes and I was pretty worried that I’d be left in their dust as soon as we took off.  Fortunately, that wasn’t the case at all.

We set out from the Kelly’s lot out toward 30th Street.  The pace was nice and easy and people were chatting while we jogged. We turned up Maine Street and spread out in a long line going through Madison Park. It was a beautiful autumn evening and I was actually really enjoying the run. The group naturally broke itself into smaller groups about a mile into the run. My friend Jeremy is a stronger runner than I am and he went with the middle group. I was in the slowest group, but the four of us stuck together and I never felt like I was slowing anyone down.

Doug Seebers paired up with me at about the 1.5 mile mark, and he explained that he uses a system of running called the Jeff Galloway Program. I’ll write more about this in an upcoming blog, but I learned that the program is a running and walking combination designed to maximize distance and minimize injury for runners.  Doug and I alternated running 3 minutes and walking 1 minute for the remainder of the 3.2 mile run. It was only after the run that I learned that Doug has completed 35 full marathon runs (26.2 miles) using this method.

Running with Doug was great for a beginner like me. He was full of encouragement and helped me to push just a little harder without making me feel like I wasn’t moving fast enough. The second week I ran with another club member, Denise Poland, and I was again surprised at how encouraging it was to run with someone else and share in another club member’s enthusiasm for being active.

After each evening social run, the club sticks around for dinner at the restaurant that they started from. I really enjoyed the conversation after the run. Every bit of the experience was welcoming and inclusive, and I’m really excited about learning from each of the runners of the HRRWC.  I would encourage any of my readers to join us in the parking lot at Kelly’s next Tuesday at 6:45 to Get Out and give the Heartland Road Runners and Walkers Club a shot.  They’ve definitely got a place for you, no matter how much or how little experience you have.

To learn more about HRRWC, visit www.hrrwc.com or find them on Facebook athttp://www.facebook.com/pages/Heartland-Road-Runners-and-Walkers-Club-HRRWC/73873799611Yearly membership to the club is $15 for an individual or $25 for a family.  Evening social runs will start from Kelly’s on Tuesdays at 6:45 throughout October.  After that, you may contact Glenn Swick at glenn@adams.net to find out where the club will be meeting.  There are also early morning runs on Wednesdays and Fridays at 5:30 AM leaving from Starbucks. Information and times for other scheduled runs and events are on the HRRWC website.

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