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May 9, 2016
by David Ryan
3 Comments

Baltimore Jack (1958 – 2016)

Legendary Appalachian Trail thru-hiker, Jack “Baltimore Jack” Tarlin, passed away at much too young of an age last week. If you have spent any time in the past twenty years on the A.T., there is a good chance that you ran into Baltimore Jack. After thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail a record setting nine times, Jack spent his time at outfitters and hostels along the trail coaching new hikers on how to successfully complete the trail.

In 1997, Jack rescued my wife, Claudia, when she broke her leg on the Appalachian Trail several miles outside of Erwin, Tennessee. If I am not mistaken, 1997 was the year of Jack’s first completed thru-hike.

The July/August 1998 issue of “Appalachian Trailway News” carried an article I wrote about the 1997 rescue. It’s the issue with Bill Clinton and Al Gore on the cover doing trail maintenance. If you are interested in reading the article, a scan of it is posted below. I do want to point out that the article has a typo in the first sentence. (We started our hike in 1997 and not 1996.) Continue Reading →

But in one of the fields something was going on to attract the attention of White Sox manager Robin Ventura.

April 23, 2016
by David Ryan
1 Comment

Wandering Around the Ballfields of Camelback Ranch

We’re now at the end of the third week of the major league baseball season, and if you’re a baseball fan it’s not too early, if you can swing it, to think about going to a Spring Training game in Phoenix or Florida next March. If you grew up or still live in a cold climate with miserable winters, you know that Spring Training is a sign that winter will soon end. And if you’re a baseball fan you know that, when you hear the words “pitchers and catchers reporting” (to Spring Training camp), all is well.

Because I live within a day’s drive of Phoenix and am a life-long White Sox fan, I try to get to at least one or two Spring Training games every year. This year was no exception, and I made my annual pilgrimage to Camelback Ranch in Glendale, Arizona last month.

Camelback Ranch is one the ten Spring Training camps in the Phoenix area and is where both the White Sox and the Dodgers train for their upcoming season. The complex includes a main ballpark shared by the Sox and Dodgers and a set of six baseball fields and other training facilities for each team. The entire complex including the parking lots covers 141 acres and cost over $100 million dollars to build. The place is wonderful.

As you can see the complex is quite extensive.

As you can see the complex is quite extensive.

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March 17, 2016
by David Ryan
8 Comments

Road Trip on U.S. Highway 60

For my money, U.S. Highway 60 from Socorro, New Mexico to Phoenix, Arizona is one of the great two-lane highways in America. It is remote and full of surprises. It is a peaceful and relaxing drive where you don’t have to worry about heavy traffic slowing you down or large trucks blocking your view. When you leave Socorro, make sure that there’s gas in your tank as it will be almost 150 miles until you reach a town, all the way in Arizona, with full scale services and a McDonalds.

Earlier this month I had the pleasure to drive U.S. 60 again when I went down to Phoenix for a couple of Spring Training baseball games. The drive was wonderful.

The trip begins from Socorro with a brief climb out of mesquite and creosote bush country of the Rio Grande Valley.

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