7.29.2014

Orange Mud Transition & Seat Wrap Giveaway

The Green Girl loves her lime green Orange Mud Transition & Seat Wrap.

After I posted my review last night, Orange Mud generously offered one Orange Mud Transition & Seat Wrap for a giveaway to a lucky winner.

Orange Mud designed the Transition & Seat Wrap to function as both a towel wrap and a seat protector.

The transition wrap feature consists of a sturdy clip that fastens easily and securely to a laser cut belt. I like how the belt band gives the towel a slight stiffness so it doesn't stretch as you secure it around your body.

The seat cover feature consists of a section of the towel that zips into a hoodie. This hooded portion can be pulled over the headrest of your car seat. It's long enough that it drapes over and protects the edge/side of your seat from potentially dirty calves/legs.

The Transition & Seat Wrap comes in 16 fun colors:
  • Neon Yellow
  • Royal Blue
  • Neon Pink
  • Hunter Green
  • Navy Blue
  • Sunshine Yellow
  • Caribbean Blue
  • Turquoise
  • White
  • Burgundy
  • Orange
  • Tan
  • Purple
  • Lime Green
  • Salsa Red
  • Black
To enter to win your very own Orange Mud Transition & Seat Wrap in your choice of color, simply log into the Rafflecopter widget below.

You will have two options for logging into the Rafflecopter widget:
  1. Log in via Facebook - choose this option and a pop-up will ask for permission to access Facebook details. Rafflecopter needs to access email addresses via Facebook in order to contact winners.
  2. Use your email - leave a name and email address. Your email address is PRIVATE and I will not share or publish it anywhere.
Giveaway ends Wednesday, August 6th at 12:00 midnight Pacific Time. If you encounter any issues entering this giveaway via Rafflecopter, please let me know.

Good luck and thank you
for taking the time to enter this giveaway!


Winner will be announced on Thursday, August 7th!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

7.28.2014

Orange Mud Transition & Seat Wrap Review

The Green Girl purchased a lime green Orange Mud Transition & Seat Wrap a few months ago.

Orange Mud designed the Transition & Seat Wrap to function as both a towel wrap and a seat protector.

I discovered the versatility of a full-sized bath towel while participating in Ragnar Relay multi-day races.

A single towel could serve as a body wrap when changing clothing, a blanket for warmth, a seat protector, and even a pillow if folded/rolled.

I was looking at triathlon transition towels and spa towels wraps in search of a velcro-less solution (I dislike how velcro tends to catch on fabrics) when a fellow Ragnarian mentioned the Orange Mud Transition & Seat Wrap.



Orange Mud Transition & Seat Wrap
The Orange Mud Transition & Seat Wrap measures 30" wide x 60" long.

The product is made in the USA.

The care directions indicate wash cold and dry cool.

The transition wrap feature consists of an impact resistant polymer clip that fastens easily and securely to a laser cut belt.

Orange Mud Transition & Seat Wrap
I like how the band of the belt gives the towel a slight stiffness so it doesn't stretch as you secure it around your body. The belt appears to be well made and reinforced.

The seat cover feature consists of a section of the towel that zips into a hoodie. This hooded portion can be pulled over the headrest of your car seat. It's long enough that it drapes over and protects the edge/side of your seat from potentially dirty calves/legs.

Orange Mud Transition & Seat Wrap
The towel is the thickness and quality of a typical beach towel.

I ignored the care instructions and washed my lime green Transition & Seat Wrap in hot water and dried it in high. This did not appear to diminish the integrity of the towel but the towel did leave behind generous amounts of lime green fuzz.

I highly recommend washing your towel multiple times before use - and with items that do not attract lint. The towel did eventually stop shedding after a few washes - and the hot water/high heat hasn't had any negative effects on it even after a few months.

The Transition & Seat Wrap comes in 16 colors:
  • Neon Yellow
  • Royal Blue
  • Neon Pink
  • Hunter Green
  • Navy Blue
  • Sunshine Yellow
  • Caribbean Blue
  • Turquoise
  • White
  • Burgundy
  • Orange
  • Tan
  • Purple
  • Lime Green
  • Salsa Red
  • Black
Orange Mud Transition & Seat Wrap
I love my Orange Mud Transition & Seat Wrap - it's become my 'go to' towel. In addition to outdoor sports and the gym, it's also great for recreational swimming or the water park.

The product was thoughtfully designed and well made.

7.02.2014

Los Angeles River Ride 70 Mile Playa to Park

The Green Girl and Lexa did the 14th Annual Los Angeles River Ride 70 Mile Playa to Park on Sunday, June 22nd.

The annual LA River Ride is the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition's biggest event and fundraiser.

The proceeds from the ride benefited the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition (LACBC) and Moms in Motion.

The LACBC was founded in 1998 by bicycle advocates Joe Linton and Ron Milam with a mission to improve the bicycling environment and quality of life for the entire Los Angeles region.

The LACBC is part of LA River Corp's collaborative Greenway 2020 LA River revitalization campaign to complete a 51 mile greenway corridor by the year 2020 - a completely car-free uninterrupted bike highway running from Long Beach to Canoga Park complete with sustainable parks, gathering spaces, dining amenities, and potential green energy sources.

The Taiwan Tourism Bureau sponsored the LACBC Taiwan Cycling Festival Sweepstakes.

Everyone who signed up for a LACBC membership in the month of May was automatically entered in the LACBC Taiwan Cycling Festival Sweepstakes to win a trip for 2 to Taiwan to attend the Taiwan Cycling Festival at Sun Moon Lake.

The Green Girl and Lexa at the 14th Annual Los Angeles River Ride 70 Mile Playa to Park
The LA River Ride offered 7 different rides starting/ending at the Gene Autry Museum and added 3 ride options starting/ending at the Aquarium of the Pacific.

Gene Autry Museum 'Park to the Playa' Start/Finish Aquarium of the Pacific 'Playa to the Park' Start/Finish
The route was clearly marked with RouteArrows
Lexa and I started our 70 mile ride at the Aquarium of the Pacific with Sarah aka 'The Pink Girl', Sarah's bike Alice, Sole Runner Cyndi, Cyndi's bike Lil Lexa*, Cassie from Beach Cities Cycling Club, and Cassie's unnamed bike.

From the Aquarium, we followed the colored route arrows north onto the river bed.

The June Gloom started us off with a cool but humid morning.

The Pink Girl parking Alice next to Lexa
The LA River Bed is generally flat with short downhills and uphills beneath overpasses so the majority of the course was fast and flat.

The first rest stop at Mile 17 was sponsored by Bike San Gabriel Valley (BikeSGV) at Maywood Riverfront Park.

Bike San Gabriel Valley (BikeSGV) Rest Stop
Volunteers out on the bike path warned cyclists of the slowing/stopping and quickly ushered us into the park.

BikeSGV provided snacks and information about their organization.

There were porta-potties and a Palomar Mountain Premium Spring Water truck for us to refill our water bottles.

Palomar Mountain Premium Spring Water Refill Station
After a quick break, we continued north on the bike path.

Despite volunteers waving their arms and shouting, and the giant LA River Ride bird logo dangling from a lamp post, Sarah and I somehow managed to cycle past the river bed turn off point. Sarah even bumped the giant bird with her helmet.

Sarah posing in front of the LA River Ride bird she hit with her helmet
When we returned to the turn off, Cassie and Cyndi were there. They laughed when we told them how we missed the turn and Sarah almost took down the official bird.

From the turn off, we continued to follow the colored arrows through the streets of Los Angeles. The arrows took us back onto the river bed bike path near Elysian Park.

Cassie and Cyndi
The cloud cover had lifted by this point and the occasional tree offered only temporary shade from the hot sun.

The Gene Autry Museum with all the LA River Ride tents was a welcome sight.

I was looking forward to eating some real food and the Eco Expo did not disappoint.

Gene Autry Museum turnaround point food
A tent was serving Cajun Ahi Tacos, Banh Mi Pork Sandwich, and Fried Chicken Sliders for $6.

Cassie, Cyndi, Sarah, and I sat at a picnic table in the shade and enjoyed some lunch.

We were all happy to use a 'real bathroom' at the Gene Autry Museum. I washed my face and reapplied sunblock.

Taiwan Tourism Bureau tent
At the Eco Expo, I stopped by the brightly colored Taiwan Tourism Bureau tent before I headed to the LA River Ride merchandise tent.

I had been admiring the event jerseys so I picked one up for myself for $70.

After I stuffed the jersey into my hydration pack, we headed back out.

14th Annual Los Angeles River Ride 70 Jersey
The afternoon sun was hot and even though I'd just reapplied sun protection, I could feel myself burning.

Since it was later in the day, the traffic was also heavier on the city streets - especially in Chinatown.

Once we were back on the river bed, we encountered the expected headwinds but we didn't anticipate how hot the air would be. There would be an occasional gust of hot air as if someone was directing a heater at us.

Pulling over to visit The Frog Spot
Sarah and I stopped off at the The Frog Spot, a bike-friendly convenience store on the side of the river bed.

The Frog Spot generously offered cyclists complimentary ice water. Sarah refilled her bottle while I devoured a fruit popsicle.

The Frog Spot
The rest of the ride home was windy and hot.

The fellow LA River Ride cyclists were friendly and considerate.

Whenever someone was pulled over with a flat, there were several other riders assisting. Several times other riders warned us several times of upcoming hazards - even a questionable transient standing on the path.

14th Annual Los Angeles River Ride Jersey and Medal
At the Finish, we received a medal that doubles as a bottle opener.

The LA River Ride Official Event Photos were generously sponsored by the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition and complimentary to all riders.

I want to thank the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition for a fun ride for a great cause.

Lexa and I are looking forward to future Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition events.



*Lil Lexa is actually bigger than Lexa

6.28.2014

Beach Cities Cycling Club Safe Cycling Course

Beach Cities Cycling Club Safe Cycling Course flyer
The Green Girl and Lexa attended a Beach Cities Cycling Club Safe Cycling Course in March.

The course is offered throughout the year to all Beach Cities Cycling Club members at no additional charge. (An annual Beach Cities Cycling Club membership costs $25.)

The Safe Cycling Course was held at Beach Cities Health District and consisted of 3 Sunday sessions from 9:00 am to 12:30 pm.

League of American Bicyclists Smart Cycling Traffic Skills 101 manual
The sessions were a combination of lecture, demonstrations, and hands-on exercises led by Beach Cities Cycling Club founder Jim Hannon and other Beach Cities Cycling Club members.

The course materials consisted of the League of American Bicyclists Smart Cycling Traffic Skills 101 manual, videos, and supplemental printed hand-outs.

Dave Strelka started off Day One with an overview of the course. Then, Ride Co-Director Bob Young went over the parts of a bike using a clever bicycle typogram by artist Aaron Kuehn.

Typogram Credit: Aaron Kuehn

Beach Cities Cycling Club Founder Jim Hannon
Jim Hannon presented a graphical depiction of cyclist versus motorist fault in accidents involving bicycles and vehicles. The pie chart indicated each party was responsible roughly 50% of the time.

This made an impression on me because it made me realize by making an effort to be a safe and predictable cyclist, I can significantly decrease my chances of getting into an accident with an automobile.

4 Ways to Turn Left
Hawk Granville went over the different types of bike lanes and considerations when riding each bikeway.

Danny Hylands covered maneuvering intersections. We learned there are 4 options for making a left turn.

4 Ways to Turn Left
  1. Standard Turn Get in the left turn lane like a vehicle and follow traffic making the left through the intersection
  2. Box Turn Continue straight across the intersecting road, then stop if safe, and turn bike to cross the street
  3. U-Turn Make the easier right turn and then make a u-turn when safe
  4. Pedestrian Turn Dismount and walk in the crosswalks of the two intersecting roads

ABC Quick Check
Peter Richardson kicked off Day Two with the 'ABC Check'.

ABC Quick Check
  • A is for air
  • B is for brakes
  • C is for cranks and chain
  • Quick is for quick releases

Basic Bike Tools for the Road
Craig Barton covered the 'Basic Bike Tools for the Road' and demonstrated how all of the essentials fit in his saddle bag.

Chuck Morton showed us how to properly change a tube and tire.

He suggested we line up the rim logo, tire logo, and valve for consistency and to make it easier to isolate a potential tear.

How to change a flat tire
After the demonstration, we broke up into groups and practised changing tires and tubes.

Once we were all comfortable changing tires and tubes, we moved outside for our first lessons on the bike.

Beach Cities Health District parking lot
The Beach Cities Health District parking lot featured a painted course designed for the bicycle drills.

The remainder of Day Two and all of Day Three - with the exception of our final ride on the streets - took place in the parking lot.

Danny Hylands started us off with the exercises. Another Beach Cities Cycling member, Stacey Timberlake, also helped demonstrate and lead.

Tennis Ball 'Hazards' Agility Test
For each maneuver, the instructor would explain when to use the move and why it was important. Then, one of them would repeat the demonstration until we felt comfortable enough to line up on our bikes and try it for ourselves.

I appreciated how patient and helpful all the instructors were with all of the students - regardless of experience and ability level.

Things We Learned
  • How to ride in a straight line
  • How to make an immediate sharp turn by jerking the front wheel quickly in the opposite direction and then turning
  • How to make a close turn
  • How to do turn signals
  • How to brake in the event of an emergency without flipping over your handlebars
  • How to look back without swerving
  • How to avoid hazards on the road

After going through all the exercises and getting feedback and advice from the different instructors, I felt much more confident about my cycling abilities.

One of the instructors helped me practice moving my center of gravity back for the emergency braking by holding Lexa steady while I applied both brakes, quickly lifted myself off the seat, and moved my body over Lexa's rear tire.

Heading out for a ride on the streets
On Day Three, armed with our newfound knowledge, we were broken up into groups led by the instructors for a ride on the streets.

I was assigned to Peter's group.

Before we headed out, he went over the route in great detail. Once we started riding, he would stop us before each intersection so we could go over what skills from class we could apply to each situation.

Peter drawing a diagram of an upcoming intersection
Lexa and I are much more confident when we are out on the road now that we've attended the Beach Cities Cycling Club Safe Cycling Course. I highly recommend this course to any cyclist who is interested in cycling safety.

And I'm happy to report that my biggest fear - flipping over my handlebars - was assuaged by this class.

4.28.2014

Palm Springs Hamfest 2014

The Green Girl attended Palm Springs Hamfest 2014 sponsored by the Desert RATS Ham Radio Club at the Palm Springs Pavilion back in March.

'Ham' is a term used to refer to amateur radio operators who are licensed by the FCC to use portions of the radio spectrum.

Palm Springs Hamfest
Desert RATS 2nd Hand Shop
I got my Amateur Ham Radio License last January after passing a 35 question exam covering basic radio technology and operating principles. My call sign is KK6BWC.

The $5 entry fee to Palm Springs Hamfest 2014 included access to the vendors in the Pavilion, the Swap Meet, the informational seminars, and an entry into a Grand Prize raffle to win a Alinco DX-SR9T 1.9~29MHz SSB/CW/AM/FM/SDR All-mode Desktop Transceiver.

Palm Springs Hamfest ticket
Additional raffle tickets could be purchased for awesome general prizes like an ICOM IC-718 HF All Band Transceiver, a Yaesu FT-60R 144/430 MHz 5-Watt FM Hand-held, a Puxing PX-UV973 Professional FM transceiver, MFJ MFJ-1728B magnet mounts, or Mystery Gifts, to name a few.

Palm Springs Hamfest raffle prizes
They thoughtfully displayed the winning numbers on the wall so raffle hopefuls didn't have to worry about missing their number.

The American Radio Relay League (ARRL) had a booth near the Palm Springs Hamfest entrance. The ARRL is the national association for Amateur Radio in the US.

Palm Springs Hamfest
I walked around and looked at the vendor booths. I saw amplifiers, cables, antennas, antenna tuners, connectors, DSP audio filters, power supplies, and other radio supplies for sale.

I felt a wave of nostalgia as I visited the Ham Radio Outlet booth - I'd purchased my beloved Yaesu FT-60R from their retail store last year. I discovered Hamfest was celebrating the 10th birthday of the FT-60R.

Radio antennas
I stopped by the Hospital Disaster Support Communications System (HDSCS) booth and met April Moell WA6OPS .

I learned HDSCS is a specialized unit of the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) consisting of about 80 Ham Radio operators who have volunteered to provide backup internal and external communications for critical medical facilities in Orange County whenever normal communications are interrupted for any reason. The organization celebrated its 30th year of service in 2010.

National Disaster Medical System Member - Hospital Disaster Support Communications System (HDSCS) Major Activations
The HDSCS members are FCC licensed Amateur Radio operators who have their own portable radio equipment ready to respond to hospitals in Orange County.

April explained the distinction between Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) and Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES) varies based on geological location.

Hospital Disaster Support Communications System (HDSCS) Major Activations
In some places, ARES and RACES are combined, with members wearing RACES hats during emergency activations and ARES hats for non-emergency public service communications. In other places they are separate organizations, with RACES responding to government agencies and ARES helping non-government entities.

When All Else Fails...Amateur Radio
HDSCS members responded to disasters like the Whittier Narrows earthquake, the Northridge earthquake, and the Placentia train derailment.

I also learned in the event of a widespread disaster in Northern or Southern California that paralyzes hospitals, critical care patients would be transported via airlift from Los Alamitos Joint Forces Training Base to a functioning medical facility.

April Moell WA6OPS 'Making Your List and Checking It Twice' seminar
April showed me an HDSCS binder which contained all the information a member would need to respond to an emergency including contact information, maps with multiple routes to nearby hospitals, and detailed information to connect to the hospital antenna.

I also attended April's 'Making Your List and Checking It Twice - A check list to help your group provide Amateur Radio support for local hospitals (or any other disaster preparedness)' afternoon seminar.

Homing In's 'Find the Hidden Transmitter'
Homing In sponsored a 'Find the Hidden Transmitter' game. I set my FT-60R frequency to 147.540 and heard a bunch of noise but had no idea how to find the hidden transmitter.

After my failed game attempt, I met a ham who was a SKYWARN spotter for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)'s National Weather Service (NWS).

The Green Girl trying to 'Find the Hidden Transmitter' with a Yaesu FT-60R
I learned SKYWARN is a volunteer program with nearly 290,000 trained severe weather volunteer spotters who help keep their local communities safe by providing timely and accurate reports of severe weather.

SKYWARN uses amateur radio as one method of communicating with spotter groups and emergency management organizations.

After talking to the SKYWARN ham, I was inspired to pick up a second copy of the beautiful NOAA NASA Sky Watcher Chart.

NOAA NASA Sky Watcher Chart

Old military radio
I saw another ham carrying around an old olive drab military radio. A few other hams stopped to admire it while I was snapping a picture.

I went outside to the RV camping area and admired the antennas mounted on the RVs and the personalized call sign license plates.

I stopped by the Riverside Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) truck and discussed emergency disaster preparedness with the CERT members.

The Badge Works booth
Before I left, I stopped by the Badge Works booth to order a call sign badge for myself as keepsake.

I thoroughly enjoyed Palm Springs Hamfest 2014 and I'm looking forward to future ham events and fests.

The Green Girl's call sign KK6BWC
73,
The Green Girl KK6WBC


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