Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Wall Hanger

I finally did it. I didn't think it would happen this fast, but it did. I'm still in shock. It still makes me smile when I think about it.

Gather around kids, it's story time:

Sunday afternoon, 1:00. We were called away from our main hunting group to go help out some other friends who had some nice deer spotted, and wanted some help flushing them out. Aaron and I gladly accepted the invite.

30 minutes later we were sitting there staring into some empty woods wondering if these deer even existed. Aaron asked "What do you want to do? Should we go back to our original group, or wait this out?". I didn't answer. I always love the chance at taking down a nice buck, but I also get impatient when nothing is happening. He said "I'm gonna take a piss, and you think about what you want to do." Just as he turned around and unzipped his pants, two bucks were on a dead sprint about 100 yards in front of us. The first one was BIG, the second one was average. I took 3 or 4 shots, but they weren't good shots, they were just prayers.

We took off around the curve as fast as we could with our adrenaline pumping at full tilt.

Explanation needed here: If you haven't deer hunted before, or hunted in general, then you probably have no idea why a person would get so excited about seeing a nice deer. It's very hard to explain. It's like trying to explain to a non-motorcycle rider why riding a motorcycle out on the open road is a life altering experience. The best way I can describe it is that it's not just hunting, it's a more of a life experience. It's bonding with God's green earth and bonding with your fellow hunters. Everyone who has shot a trophy animal always says that when you can take down one of the most beautiful and sought after animals on the planet, you feel a sense of accomplishment like no other. It's very addicting, and the rush is like no other rush in existance. When you see that deer running full speed, with that gigantic rack displayed proudly on top of his head like a super bowl trophy, it absolutely takes your breath away. Think about how many hunters have seen that deer, spent countless hours tracking that deer in the hopes of just seeing it again, let alone actually getting the chance to take a shot at it. Think how many have shot and missed. Deer like that are rare, they don't show their faces that often. They're insanely smart. They know how to avoid hunters, which is why they've been able to live for so long and develop a trophy rack. They don't take the chances that doe's take, or younger male deer take. They think about their every move, and memorize safe havens to run to in case things get hairy.

OK, back to my story.
We round the curve as fast as we can and the only thing I can think about is how big that freaking first buck was. I knew that I'd be lucky to see him again. We were making a lot of noise with our movements, and deer don't like noise or movement. But, divine intervention stepped in and offered me up one chance to take this magnificent buck. He was in full stride about 50 yards ahead of me, 10 yard from jumping a fence. If he jumps that fence, he's gone. He will disappear into a patch of thick brushy timber, never to be seen again.

I stopped, and in slow motion I brought my gun up, the sights aligned perfectly, the deer was in mid air jumping over the fence, I squeezed the trigger with the sights lined up on the kill zone... BOOM... and like the perfect ending to a fairy tail, the deer dropped. Instantly.

The entire universe was silent for a brief moment.


To be honest, I couldn't believe it either.

I slowly lowered my pistol (that's right, I shot it with a pistol) to my side, and like a tidal wave, it hit me. I looked at Aaron and let out a scream that shook the timbers 2 sections over. We were dancing around like two school girls in ballerina dresses who just got their first kiss. But, we didn't care.

After awhile we actually settled down, I stared at the deer in bewilderment like I had just won the lottery and didn't know what to say.

We went down in the ditch to get a better look at him, and each second we spent looking it over, I got more and more excited. My legs shook for 30 minutes, my body was trying to get the adrenaline pumped out and settled down, but it wasn't happening.

This buck has one of the most unique racks I've ever seen. It has a lot of distinct points close to it's brow, good height and width, thick mass, and great balance. We believe it has 11 scorable points on it, with a possibility of 12.

I have nothing but respect for these creatures, and I look at them as a thing of beauty every single time we spot one. We hunt them and we respect them.

This hunt was the shot of a lifetime. People hunt their whole lives and never get a chance to shoot a trophy buck like this. I am very grateful that I was presented with this opportunity.

In a matter of minutes both hunting groups gathered around to look him over. People shook my hand and said "Congratulations" over and over. Hunters called their friends and dads to come look at it. It was the talk of the group for the rest of the night. I was on cloud nine.

He will hang on my wall as a reminder of this unbelievable experience.
I will never forget the feeling of that hunt and will always remember the slow motion shot that made me king for a day.

He will be back from the taxidermist in October of next year, and that is going to feel like an eternity. A wise man once said "good things come to those who wait", and I can hardly wait.

Now, all I have to do is come up with a name for him.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Hunting 2008

This year's deer hunting season was another success for my group in Southern Iowa. Two solid weekends of hunting has yielded us over 40 deer. We still have late season rifle coming in January, but for now, the hunting season is on pause.

Every year I stay in Creston, Iowa with Aaron Chapman, and this year he has added a new member to his family. A 1 year old Red Tailed Hawk named Izzy (short for Izabel). He has recently completed his Falconry license requirements and is able to hunt squirrels and rabbits with a Hawk. Very cool.

I got the chance to hunt with her Saturday morning, and it was quite an experience. We would walk around some brushy areas and try to flush rabbits out for Izzy to dive bomb. Izzy would follow us around from tree to tree, watching intently. We didn't get any rabbits, but Izzy flew down and got herself a nice field mouse. She's an amazing beautiful animal and it's very weird to be watching TV, while a hawk watches you.

Oh yeah, I got a BIG surprise coming to my blog in a couple days.

I left one piece of my hunting trip out that was the experience of a lifetime.

Stay tuned...

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Life is Supposed To Go On...

...but it doesn't. It stands still, and you go numb, and it makes no sense. It physically hits you like a ton bricks and emotionally it feels like your heart has been torn out. Nothing else matters except for that person crying on your shoulder. As tears fall on my keyboard, there's a lump growing in my throat that hasn't gone away since we received unpleasant news yesterday.

I think it was around minute #8 on the treadmill this morning when I realized that I wasn't sweating. What I felt on my cheeks were tears. I truly believe that strength comes from emotion and fear is controlled through that strength. I've learned that valuable lesson many years ago, and it's made me a better person.

I think it was around 7:10 am that I realized I had just gone through an entire workout without feeling anything. I wasn't into it, I wasn't aware of my surroundings, and the person I saw in the mirror was hurting more and more as the morning went on. I had to leave early, I had to sit in my truck, alone in a parking lot, to let my emotions escape their trap. I thought it would set me free, and I thought it would instantly heal me from the inside out.

But, it doesn't. I need to let the healing begin, I wish it would begin, I can't make it begin, and it doesn't seem fair. I realize that I'm not alone. I've never been alone, and I shouldn't feel like I'm alone. I don't understand Why this happened, and I don't need to understand Why right now. I just need to be there for her. Everything else is a distant 2nd place.

The only priority for me is to take the pain away from her. I want to bear the burden of pain for both of us. I can't stand to look in her eyes and realize that she's going through the same thing as me. I want to save her from it, I want to shield her, I want to carry the weight of the world on my shoulders, and it's impossible for me to reach the realization that I can't do that.

I know deep down, through all the struggles and agony, that all hope is not lost. It can't be taken away from us. We've come too far to give up now. We can't be stopped in our pursuit. We can and will hit bumps along the way and we can handle it once bump at a time. We will add to our family someday, I just can't tell you when, and it doesn't matter when. I want you to realize that we've already found completeness in each other.

The calls and emails continue to pour in for us. Our giant support network of family and friends offer up condolences. "I'm sorry" is the only thing that can be said. I understand that. There are no words that can express how deeply hurtful this experience is. But, we do the best we can, and I want you to know that we are grateful for each and every one of you. We are truly blessed, and I feel lucky to be sharing my life with you.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Cream Can Cookout

The Iowa State football season isn't going very well this year, but one thing we have done well is tailgated. Thanks to a birthday present from Mom and Dad, I was able to host a good old fashioned Cream Can Cookout outside the 1986 Travelcraft.

Just a quick note on the ingredients:
From bottom to top.
1 package of New Orleans style crab boil.
25 Red Potatoes
3 lbs Carrots
6 Onions (quartered)
2 Heads of Cabbage (halved)
1 pound of mushrooms
20 lbs of Brats, sausages and hotdogs.

Pour 6 cans of beer on top of all of that, and place it over a flame for 2 1/2 hours.

This is Chad and I tending the cream can. Did I mention that I had a red mohawk for the game?

Drumroll please. The final product, piping hot, and very deeeee-lish.

Gotta follow up that good food with a Flabongo?

What is a flabongo?

It's when you take a plastic flamingo, cut the beak off, cut the tail off, pour a beer into it, then chug the beer. Best when done with 2 other friends.

You may have noticed that I'm the only one drinking out of a pink flamingo. The other two were "Halloween Flamingos". I prefer pink because it brings out my inner feminine self.




Bikes Blues and BBQ

I have some catching up to do on some of my activities lately.

I recently took a trip down to Fayetteville, Arkansas for an awesome bike rally. It just so happens that the Saturday while I was down there, it was also my birthday. It worked out well, because everywhere I went it was well known, thank to my friends, that I was celebrating a birthday. Needless to say, I had well over 25 beers bought for me throughout the day. I spread the love to my riding buddies so I wouldn't have to turn in early.

This was my riding crew hanging out at our favorite Dixon St bar.
From left to right: The Birthday boy, Matt Carter, Jake Whitten, Dick Hakes, Tony Hakes.

Here we are with our bikes at the hotel getting ready to head out for a ride.

This is a guy in a kilt that bought me a birthday beer. Other then the kilt, he was not cool.

Here we are at a concert with some random guy. He seemed nice. Might have been a bum.

Awesome trip, great company, and a birthday that I will remember forever.
Thank you very much to everyone involved.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

The Burn: Day #4

The brand is actually more painful today, then it was the day I got it. Very strange.

It's getting pretty squiggly and wavy around the edges, but nothing else seems to be going on with it. It's like my body doesn't want it to heal. It likes it in the current state that it's in. I got a good closeup in case anyone wants to examine it in detail.

Dad called me yesterday and asked me if I've slapped my brand yet. I told him that you're not supposed to do that until the scar tissue has formed and the scab goes away. He's been in his truck for 3 days slapping his brand about 3 times a day. He said it hurts pretty bad. Well, DUH!

I guess I'll just let it do it's thing, until I need to start suffocating it with saran wrap, and pouring lemon juice in it. ;-)

Sunday, August 03, 2008

What's your brand?

Dad and I finally did it. After talking about it for a couple of years, we actually went through with it.

We got branded. With a Circle K.

It's weird to say that you got branded, and it's weird to type out those words.
But, for some reason, it made perfect sense to me and dad.

I'm not gonna lie and say it didn't hurt, because it did. It felt like a red hot knife was cutting into my skin an inch deep. But the pain was worth it and I'm glad my dad was there to share in the experience with me. My wife and mother offered moral support and I think they went through at much mental pain as we did physical pain. Every single time I look at it, I'll remember how proud I am to be a Kneifl.

The healing process is a complicated one. Instead of letting it heal like a regular wound, I have to aggravate it as much as possible (to help the scar tissue build). I will spare you the details, but let's just say it involves saran wrap, lemon juice, and lot's of scab scrubbing and scar slapping. Yeah, for real.

This picture will give you an idea of how big/cool it is.

It was taken about 1 minute after mine was completed.

I will be keeping a picture journal of the healing process on my blog in the coming days/weeks. It should be completely healed in about 3 weeks, but the Scarification Artist said everybody heals differently.

So if you're not into watching 3rd degree burns heal, then don't check back.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Key West - 2008

Every year I take a trip with my friends around March. It started out as a Spring Break trip for us, then it just kept going all the way into our 30's. This year was our 10th trip together to a destination with some much needed sunshine. The winter has been so horrible in Iowa, the feeling of sunshine on my face was almost better then.... then.... uh.... well, let's just say it felt GOOD.

Day #1 we all flew in and stayed in West Palm Beach at Wilson's pad. We sat on his deck in 85 degree weather and enjoyed beverages all afternoon. We hit the town that night and found ourselves entered into a Beer Pong tournament. My partner was Johnson, and we made it the farthest of any of our friends, falling one game short of the finals. Needless to say, the beer was flowing, and the night flew by with enough laughs to make your abs sore the next morning.

Bright and early the following AM we rented this beauty:
A 30 Foot Class C Recreational Vehicle that sleeps 7. (and we proved that). It is also able to withstand 1,000+ farts and not even have the paint peal off the wall.

We hit the road for Key West and stayed at Boyd's Campgrounds. I highly recommend this place, as it's facilities are excellent. Great hookups, showers, patios... etc.

There is a tradition that we have Leisure suit night every year, and this year was no exception. We took over the town of Key West in fine fashion. Check it out:

Johnson, Berkland, Brock and myself. That picture does not justice to Brock's Powder Blue checkered suit. It was the Bomb. It also does no justice for the tightness of Johnson's and Berkland's pants. They couldn't fit their wallets in the back pockets, which makes for an excellent overall look, in my opinion.

Brock, me and Porter at Fat Tuesday's with semi-serious faces.

This is Wilson and a bum that we met outside the bar. We tried to pay the bouncers to let him into the club with us, but the bouncer said he was banned for life. All we wanted to do was take a few shots with our new buddy. But, it didn't happen. We were bummed. No offense.

Me and Johnson looking like we're about to whack someone.

The next day we hit the road for Key Largo, and spent that night at the beach in the RV. Johnson and I both got stung by jellyfish, but they were only the size of golf balls, so it wasn't anything major. It's pretty cool to say that I've been stung by a jellyfish.

This is right outside our RV parking spot where we hung out for most of the day enjoying cocktails:

All in all it was a fantastic and much needed trip.
The weather was excellent, the company was superb, and the RV was the cherry on top of it all.
Can't wait for a new adventure next year.

I miss the sun, and the smell of an RV toilet that had *at least* 25 dumps taken in it.

No joke. ;-)

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Stall Mates

Yesterday brought some pretty nice weather to Central Iowa for the first time in what felt like 10 months. I took advantage of the wonderful weather by waxing up the bikes I am currently taking care of. I also got a brand new windshield installed on my bike, and new beetle bags put on dad's bike. I went on a 125 mile test ride yesterday as well, so I could adjust my windshield to the appropriate height. Being on the bike felt like I was back in motorcycle heaven again. It was the perfect day to throw on the leathers and let the sun work it's magic.

Don't they look like best buddies?

Per the request of my dad, I had to include some different angles of his bike, so he can see what the beetle bags look like.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Mom, please take your seat...

Well, it finally happened... Mom now has a seat on the Turbo Rocket. Don't be fooled by that black tank that looks like a passenger seat, cuz it's not. It's the Boost Juice tank.



A Triumph Gel Seat was added, along with a Triumph tall sissy bar and touring back pad, and a chrome luggage rack. Please note the passenger floorboards added for mom's touring comfort as well.

What you don't see in the pics is the fact that we relocated the Boost Juice pump and made room for a juice tank underneath the seat. It will make for a much cleaner look then where it was before.

Now, if we could just get rid of this snow, we'd be able to take this bad boy out for a little test spin.