Roger’s 50th in Chicago

Roger’s 50th Birthday T-shirt, designed by Zack
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My great friend, Roger celebrated his 50th birthday in October this year. Our birthday gift to Roger was a weekend surprise party with twenty-five of his friends in Chicago, Illinois.

Most of the group at Roscoes on Friday afternoon.
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Roger thought only five of us were coming. We met with Roger at the hotel, then went to Roscoes (a neighborhood bar). Everyone else formed a long line on the street, then walked into Roscoes for the big surprise.

Roger’s reaction is captured in the video below. He falls to the floor before we reached him with the camera. Yes, he was indeed surprised.

The group at dinner on Saturday night.
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Puerto Vallarta – July 2010

July 28 through August 2, a group of twelve friends traveled from Kansas City to Puerto Vallarta for my friend Mike’s 30th Birthday.

Highlights from the trip

The penthouse

We stayed at Vallarta Shores overlooking the beach, just south of Blue Chairs. The place was beautiful with a huge open-air common living space and deluxe kitchen. Each penthouse also had a private pool and three bedrooms, all with private baths. Amenities included wifi, TV’s in each room, mini-stereos with iPod hook-ups, daily maid service, and our very own private chef, Carlos.

A day on the mighty Pacific Ocean

On Saturday morning, we met up with Captain Ernesto Alfano and his beautiful and very friendly wife of ADA Sailing. We did a private day cruise on the Pacific Ocean, just to the south of Puerto Vallarta along the Mexico coast. We stopped for several hours to snorkel and swim in the sparkling turquoise waters, just south of Le Kliff.

Friends, new and old

While I knew a handful of the twelve Kansas City guys well, it was good to spend time with old friends, and get to know a few others better. I also had the opportunity to meet a long-time social networking pal Dan, who happened to be in Puerto Vallarta on an overlapping vacation. The group also made a new friend, Felipe, a friendly traveler from Toronto, who joined us for many of our activities.

Photos from the trip

Group shot
Group shot prior to departing Puerto Vallarta

The group on the beach at sunset
Group picture at sunset

Small group at La Noche for drinks.
Small group at La Noche for drinks.

Condo, decorated for Mike’s 30th Birthday
Condo, decorated for Mike's 30th Birthday

Mike, Birthday waltz
Birthday waltz

All aboard the ADA, destination Banderas Bay
All aboard the ADA, destination Banderas Bay

Turquoise waters of Pacific Ocean near Puerto Vallarta
Turquoise waters of Pacific Ocean near Puerto Vallarta

Northrock SC7 Men’s Bike Review

My Review of Northrock SC7 Men’s Comfort Bike

Specifications of the Northrock SC7

  • Lightweight Aluminum Frame
  • RST Sofi T Fork – High Impact Absorption
  • Shimano M191 Crank & Altus Drivetrain (21-speed)
  • TEKTRO Linear Brakes
  • SRAM MRX 3.0 Twist Shifters with PROMAX Levers
  • VELO Plush Comfort Saddle & Ergonomic Grips
  • Kenda 700C Tires
  • Alloy Rims with 14G Stainless Steel Spokes
  • Quick Release Wheels & Adjustable Seat Post

Pros

Lightweight, solid bike with a comfortable, smooth ride. I am 6’3″ 200lbs and the Northrock SC7 fits me nicely.

Seat height adjusts with ease using quick-release lever on seat post.  The brakes work like a dream. Shimano Crank, Drivetrain and Tektro Brakes are some of the best components around. I wasn’t familiar with the Northrock brand, but the frame has a lifetime warranty. The Northrock SC7 was $259.99 at our local Costco, so the price is definitely a pro. A hybrid bike with similar components is several hundred more at local shops. Costco’s generous return policy is also a pro.
Northrock SC7 Hybrid Comfort Bike

Cons

The pedals on the Northrock SC7 are plastic and feel a bit cheap. Consider upgrading to the Shimano PD-M324 dual platform.

The seat moves slightly from side to side when biking. The SRAM MRX twist shifters are listed as a feature, but I worry they won’t last as long as a convention shifting mechanism. Many experts say any bike purchased from a retail outlet should have a tune-up from a bike shop right away. This could could easily add $50-$75 to the cost of the bike. I’m no expert, but the Northrock SC7 rides and shifts smoothly, so I think I’ll skip the tune-up. Be sure to physically inspect the bike for damage from customer mishandling prior to purchase.

Must have accessories for your new bike

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Third Annual Ski Trip in Park City

Here are a few photos from our Third Annual Ski Trip in Park City, Utah. Fifteen good friends, a huge house, lots of skiing, home cooking and a modest stash of booze.

Fifteen of us at our house in Park City, Utah
The 15 of us at our house in Park City, Utah

Our larger than life house
Our modest winter home

On the gondola at Canyons
On the Gondola at Canyon Resort

Jason & Zack at Canyons
Jason and Zack at The Canyons Resort

Time-out at Canyons Resort
Timeout at Canyons Resort

Roger & David on gondola at Canyons
Roger and David on gondola at Canyons

Josh & Zack on gondola at Canyons
Josh & Zack on gondola at Canyons

Ready to bobsled at Utah Olympic Park
Ready to bobsled at Utah Olympic Park