Trader Joe's prepackaged cinnamon rolls are absolutely amazing. Seriously. I think they are the best cinnamon roll I've ever had.

They are in the refrigerated section near the biscuits. Just pop the rolls in the oven and you're on your way.

Wow. I need more of these.


Mosquitoes anyone?

This past weekend, Heather and I took a trip up the PCT north of Donner Lake to Paradise Lake. We've never really backpacked in that area and took a tip from a friend to try it out.

The trip to the trailhead nearly as exciting as the hike itself. Our trusty 4Runner shaved 3 miles off a boring hike to the PCT trailhead. The best part? No other trucks / SUVs took the forest service road. At the top of the road, people walked up to us and ask "You can drive up here?" Gotta love the 4Runner.

In any event, the trip was fun initially, but quickly became a fight to survive against buggers. We were really made aware when a crew was going the opposite way in complete bug prevention gear.

After a 4.5 mile hike in, we arrived in bug city Paradise Lake. And we were not alone. Roughly 20 people greeted us all around the lake on this particular Friday, leaving us with few options.

We finally settled on a granite rock and by this point I had about 15 bug bites. The evening was evening worse with more buggers, forcing Heather to stay in the tent the whole evening!

After a generally unenjoyable night, I had about 40 bites. That was it.

We woke up the next day and packed out. Needless to say, this area was beautiful, but beware of the bugs.


As an exciting new post for springtime, I thought I'd give my two cents into the wild variety of Pho restaurants in Reno. I'm a certified Pho addict and could eat the delicious soupy soup everyday. Maybe you were wondering which pho restaurant in Reno is the best?

This restaurant is simply named Pho; you'd think they could have come up with a better name. In any event, it's located by Target on Sierra Center Parkway in south Reno. I enjoyed my vegetarian pho soup but thought the prices were a bit high and spring rolls left a bit to be desired.

3 out of 5

Saigon Pearl
This is one of four pho restaurants downtown and if I had to choose one of the four, this would be it. The veggie pho is huge, cheap and hot and seems exceptionally authentic. I'm not a huge fan of the often over-powering onions in the soup, but overall it's good. It's located in the old El Cortez Hotel and subsequently has a tendency of smelling like smoke.

3 out of 5

Pho 777
Another downtown joint located literally three blocks east on 2nd Street from Saigon is Pho 777. Lacking much in the way to ambiance or service, this place prides itself on being the cheapest, most authentic (read: barely speaks English) Vietnamese shop in town. I was saddened to learn they don't really offer a veggie pho so I had to order something random. This place seems to be popular with tourists and locals alike, but I thought the service was lacking and food left me hungry.

2 out of 5

Asian Noodles
Asian Noodles, near Costco in Central Reno, seems to always be busy at lunch, and for good reason. They offer a variety of soups and noodle dishes aside from traditional pho. Asian Noodles has decent service, cheap-ish prices and huge, delicious pho. Just wish they'd speed up service a bit.

4 out of 5

Saigon 88
I think this is the only pho joint in Sparks. In any event, this is a regular favorite lunch spot for me due to its convenience, service and taste. Of all the pho restaurants in Reno / Sparks, Saigon 88 tried to position itself as a bit more fancy with nice ambiance, good service and attention to detail. Taste-wise, the pho here is my number two favorite. My only beef is the service at lunch seems to be a lot slower than other phos in Reno.

4 out of 5

Pho 21
Seriously. Is it a pre-requisite to have some number in the pho's name? Doesn't matter. Pho 21 knocks the socks off all pho restaurants in Reno by offering best-in-taste pho soup, spring rolls and banana springs rolls. The restaurant is clean, open and inviting, located in NW Reno by the Flowing Tide Pub off Mae Anne. Pho 21 is quick and delicious and also makes great take out.

5 out of 5

Go to my top three and you shouldn't be disappointed. I still have a couple to visit (Golden Flower, Pho Country, Viet Pho) before I can give every pho restaurant a chance. In any event, go eat pho. It's pho good!


Great article on going green at the workplace and helping to reduce plastic bottle waste. I'm a huge fan of reusable bottles and have my Nalgene nearly everywhere I go. In fact, when I'm away from my Nalgene I feel like I've lost a part of my soul :)

In any event, here are Nine Ways to Reduce Plastic Bottle Waste At Your Workplace.


Reno native Roland Della Santa won Best Road Bike at this year's North American Handmade Bicycle Show. The Reno-native, known for producing bikes for guys like Greg Lemond and yours truly, won with his beautiful 40th Anniversary Frame.

About nine years ago Roland Della Santa purchased the last 23 sets of Nervex lugs from Geoff Butler Cycles in London, intending to save them for a special project. This project became a limited edition set of 20 bicycles to celebrate his 40th anniversary of frame building. Using old Columbus tubes and offering only three braze-ons (and one waterbottle cage) Della Santa created an Eddy Merckx period piece that the awards jury simply could not resist.

Congrats to Roland - keep up the great work!


It's getting time to polish off my Della Santa steel bike and get ready for a great spring riding season. Hopefully the year will start off on a better track - last year my chain jumped the rear cassette causing my classic Campagnolo derailleur to collaspe into the spokes. This ended up being a big mess.

In any event, I contacted Roland Della Santa who graciously helped fix my bike and even managed to find an old-school Campy derailleur as a replacement.

My wife and I hope to spend a great deal of time riding this summer including around Lake Tahoe and spots in Northern California. My old steel bike still runs like a gem.


The Shema is a Hebrew phrase dating back to the time of the creation of the Torah. I've recently spent some time studying this section in Deut. 6 and have found it to be both inspirational and convicting.

The Shema is considered to be the most important prayer in the Jewish faith...and for good reason:

"Hear, oh Isreal, the LORD is our God, the LORD is one."

The following verse continues on this thought pattern by stating that we are to love the LORD our God with all of our heart, soul and might. Essentially every part of who we are from our inner-most gut to the toes on our feet are to be in love with God.

Think about it. The Lord is our God. How often do I fail at pressing this into my life, goals, money, job, etc.? I've found inspiration from this verse to remember God and who He is.