Monthly Archives: October 2009

Doing Stuff Outdoors-108

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Two stories on the show today about people on a journey. The first, about a man cycling across Canada to raise awareness about mental illness. The second, about a runner whose goal is to complete a marathon in every US State and every Canadian province and territory. When Gary spoke with them, both were close to reaching their goals.

Carol, Lindsay & Mel Thompson

Carol, Lindsay & Mel Thompson

60-year-old Mel Thompson spent the summer on a 100 day journey across Canada.  Thompson, along with his wife Carol and daughter Lindsay participated in The Ride for Mental Health to raise awareness about mental illness and get people talking about the issues surrounding it.

Although mental illness affects one in five Canadians at some point in their lives, there is still a social stigma attached to mental illness that keeps many people from seeking the help they need. It is the disease that no one likes to talk about, but it has a devastating impact on people who suffer from it, their families and society in general.  The Ride for Mental Health aims to bring the issues of mental illness out in the open, get people to share their own experiences with it, and debunk the myths and misconceptions of mental illness. In addition to raising awareness, The Ride for Mental Health aims to raise $250,000 to support mental health programs across Canada.

Mel Thompson understands first-hand the struggles of dealing with mental illness. His ride is inspired by his daughter Lindsay, who was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder as a teenager. “No one is immune from mental illness and when it hits you, or someone you love, you are never prepared,”says Thompson. “But there is treatment and recovery and that is how our family stays optimistic. Lindsay hopes to one day be able to return to school and work and we hope these dreams will come true.”

Charlie Viers

Charlie Viers

68 year old Charlie Viers from Louisiana loves running, especially in marathons. He’s completed a marathon in every state and has almost bagged a marathon in every province and territory in Canada. Charlie is a member of the 50 States Marathon Club. So what keeps this guy running? That’s what Gary wanted to find out when he spoke with Charlie in our ‘Runners’ segment.

We’ll also check in with Gidzilla in Florida through her Mullberry Bush blog. The music featured in this episode is by Uncle Seth. Please take a few minutes and fill out the Association for Downloadable Media survey and email us with your comments and stories of outdoor adventure at doingstuffoutdoors@yahoo.ca

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Filed under Adventure, Biking, Marathon, Outdoors, Running

Doing Stuff Outdoors-107

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Raul and Caroline Aguiar with their dog Whiskey

Raul and Caroline Aguiar with their dog Whiskey

Rancho La Bellota is a 2800 acre horse ranch located just 40 miles south of the Tecate, California border and 75 miles south of the San Diego, California border in Baja California, Mexico. The ranch offers exciting trail rides and scenic exploration for all levels of riders, all of which are geared towards specific scenic destinations. Ride through shady oak groves, hidden water pools, quiet secluded valleys and vast mountain ranges as you step back in time to the days when man needed only a good horse, his dog and the simplicities of nature to round out a good day. Our feature interview today is with Caroline Aguiar of Baja Rancho La Bellota.

In our ‘Runners’ segment Gary meets a former runner who is now a hard-core Nordic Walker. He had to quit running after an injury and now more than makes up for it with his ‘pole walking’.

Gary also talks about his recent three day hike of the Dobson Trail in New Brunswick and we have music on the show by Cameron Latimer of British Columbia. Contact Doing Stuff Outdoors with your comments and outdoor adventures at doingstuffoutdoors@yahoo.ca.

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Filed under Adventure, Dobson Trail, Horse, Mexico, Nordic Walking, Outdoors, Trail Riding

Doing Stuff Outdoors-106

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Something completely different this time on DSO. Gary introduces you to the world of high power rocketry. It’s not your typical outdoor activity but it’s definitely done in the outdoors and involves chasing these rockets across the countryside. Here’s a write up about the event:

Gollan family

Gollan family

They came. They camped. They blasted off. They are members of a small but passionate group of rocketry enthusiasts. About 50 members of the NB Rocketry Club and other groups from the region, along with a handful of spectators, spent two days recently under 25,000 feet of open sky on a hill top in the middle of Base Gagetown. This was the Rage in the Gage Rocket Launch held annually on the Labour Day Weekend.

Tom Raithby of Willow Grove is one of the organizers of the event. He says this is the biggest launch of high power rockets they have every year. To fire off these bigger rockets they need permission to use the airspace and the operators must be certified. These rockets are not toys even though these enthusiasts are all amateurs and hobbyists. For them building and launching rockets is what the hobby is all about.

You may be familiar with the model rockets that kids build and launch, sometimes in school or Scout programs. These things are impressive and can go as high as a thousand feet. There were plenty of model rockets at Rage in the Gage but this was really a vehicle for the big boys to show off their work. High power rockets come in various sizes and with different engines but they’re capable of reaching altitudes of 10,000 ft. or more and velocities in the supersonic range. Many of these rockets have complicated electronics in them that transmit the altitude, speed and location of the rocket. This is essential to find them because the rockets employ a parachute to gently bring them back to earth and sometimes the rockets can land far from the launch site.

“I really like that I can send something that high and I can build it myself and I can get it back without breaking it,” says Raithby. “It’s really satisfying to send somethirage-rocketwebng up against the elements and bring it back unbroken.”

Tom Raithby

Tom Raithby


Of course some times accidents happen and rockets crash but that’s all part of the hobby. With all rocketry you’re dealing with explosives and sharing air space with planes so safety during the launch and decent is the most important thing. All rockets must be inspected before launch and the range is tightly controlled by the launch director during any flight.

Greg Gollan from Windsor, Nova Scotia has one of the largest rockets this year at Gagetown.  His rocket called Dragon Farts is 9 feet long and weights 37 pounds. It has five motors on it with a combined burn time of 9.5 seconds that can produce 1,125 pounds of thrust. It can reach an altitude of 7,000 feet and best of all, the rocket has an onboard video camera to record the whole flight. Gollan says he built the rocket for  3 or 4 hundred dollars and he has about $300 of electronics on it. He says the propellants to launch the rocket cost about $400 every flight and it takes about five hours to prepare the rocket for launch. “It’s awesome….what a rush,” says Gollan after the successful first launch of Dragon Farts at Rage in the Gage.

We have music on the show this week from Nasty Boy and Art Hodge. Email your comments and story suggestions to us at doingstuffoutdoors@yahoo.ca

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Filed under Adventure, Outdoors, Rocketry