The flower pictured here is a Plumeria ‘red’ from the island of Oahu. Beautiful? Smells even better than it looks. Wow. Capture and bottle that smell and you’ve got a winner throughout the year. I actually bought some Plumeria oil on Kauai some years ago. And occasionally I put some on my watch to remind me of what I love about the Plumeria – its wonderful fragrance.
Is that a ‘micro’ sized version of “nesia?” Think not. It’s a real place that’s some 3,800 west of Hawai’i. Some travel. With jet travel by Continental Airlines (only), Micronesia is 4 or 5 hours from Hawai’i. Umm, so that’s a real haul from little ‘ol Tennessee. Attached is a photo that I uncovered from my searches of – specifically – the Marshall Islands. WOW. Can you soak that up or what. Robert Louis Stevenson called it the “Pearl of the Pacific.” More wow. I’ve thought about this photo most of the day (during free thinking moments), and there were so few that I’m now thinking about it again and WOW. I’m going there. Period.
I learned about Micronesia from a flight instructor I met while on the island of Oahu. His wife, from Micronesia, was lovely and they were a neat couple. They spoke so lovingly of Micronesia that – it was better than any brochure or website. It was – WOW. So – if and when the work-gods allow me to take a break, I’m haulin my happy ass to … Micronesia. I may stay there for a year or two or forever. Yeah.
Iokwe – translation – Welcome.
Somebody is watching you.
If you are part of a blended family (and many of us are in that situation) – please link over and read this article. Carefully selected and discerningly read, the article clears up the multitude of issues which result from relational “triangulation” — and it also offers clarity regarding the impact of triangulation within family units. Please know one thing, the article will help only those who can read and look within themselves to be honest about blended family situations.
REMINDER: Should you have issues with my blog, I suggest you take your happy ass over to my Rules section.
Happy Friday …
NOTE: There are LOTS of photos in my bank of images from the weekend. I was able to capture mostly Elite Men and Pro Women along with Men 1-2. There are 1600 images total. The Men 1-2 CRIT photos will be posted later today. If you see an image – use it and use my name to recognize its use. Other than that – mine are FREE. If you want a particular image (larger file), just email me: firstname.lastname@example.org – I’ll do my best to find it.
This past Sunday I traveled to the Foothills Parkway and enjoyed the mountain air, the scenic views and some climbing. Getting there was a challenge due to the line of cars backed up from the “open house” on the north side of the Foothills Parkway. I’m not certain what was served at the open house, but I suspect it was either money or alcohol (due to the number of cars – ha). The attached photo is just a Pentax snapshot of spring – springing in Great Smoky Mountains. I enjoyed it – a lot.
With a four-day work-week behind me, I made time to consider the great state of Aloha. Ergo, I’ve developed my Top 10 reasons to visit the great state of Aloha … aka, Hawaii.
The Top 10
10. It’s Hawaii, do I REALLY need to enumerate the reasons? It’s far enough away that you feel far enough away.
9. Sun. Plenty of it and no industry to pollute the air.
8. No snakes.
7. You can enjoy a sunrise and sunset on the same day without flying.
6. The temperature is highly stable. Average high temperature in Hawaii in August: 88. Average low temperature in Hawaii in January: 75.
5. Great fishing, scuba diving, snorkeling, surfing, kayaking, sailing and boating opportunities all around.
4. Beautiful wahines in tiny bikinis. NOTE: a wahine is a woman and when you pronounce it, it rhymes with bikini. Yes, now you get it.
3. Some of the world’s best beaches and scenic mountains are within sight of one another.
2. Almost no mosquitoes or flies. Well, there are mosquitoes, but few.
1. Laid-back lifestyle. The laid-back lifestyle and attitude makes Southern “front porch sittin’” seem stressful and hurried by comparison.
The time trial, for Masters men, started early. Burr is what I added to “Pain Mountain.” It was 46 degrees when we started (my start time was 8:10), a little wet (just rained prior to the start) and misty.
Lots of guys were on road bikes and that made me wonder, “what the hell am I doing with my TT bike?” It didn’t matter at that point because I left my road bike at the hotel! I strolled over to a guy who was preparing some wheels for a team and asked him to help me with my rear disc wheel. In getting it pumped up I asked if lots of guys were on TT bikes. His comment: “The first 5 or 6 miles are the race and a TT bike will give you an advantage.” With the tire and the insights I started to warm up.
Naturally I like to push my luck in getting to the starting line on time. I rolled to the start area with ONE minute to spare. Literally. I pulled off my rain jacket and clipped in my pedals.
Somewhere at mile 4-ish, I passed my thirty-second man, then my one-minute man, then my minute-and-a-half man … but that was mid-way up Pain Mountain. Ha.
Pain Mountain is an 18%-20% grade in the steepest section. Clearly I had the wrong gears … as I almost ground to a halt. At 1Km I clicked over to 23 minutes … and it took me another three and a half minutes to climb 1Km. WTF! Let me tell you – I can climb but not on a TT bike, with the wrong gears, slipping tire, stabbing pain, etc. etc. A little easier gear (I had an 11-23 on the rear) would have helped. I finished at 26:29 (8 miles total).
Later in the day I learned that I was 10th overall – with just 19 seconds separating the guys in 5th through 10th position. I kept imaging a different gear selection and what I “could have done.” Ok – next year. I was happy to pull a 10th place finish.
I left the area and drove back to Lancaster. I ate a Mickey D’s Egg McMuffin and then I stopped at Sheetz and got a breakfast burrito to go. I drank more coffee … I went in and packed … I showered (again) … I readied my road bike. I left.
CRIT Time. First, I dislike crit racing. I’ve had two lovely wrecks in crits and both ended in concussions. My policy is to start at the back and work my way up. Crazy policy but at least I have the opportunity to either be dropped or move up.
The short version: I moved up to 20th place in the crit and never worked that hard. We averaged 25.8 for 22 laps. Pretty fast considering that we slowed up with 7 lead changes.
SUMMARY: 17th in RR, 10th in TT and 20th in Crit; 16th overall and I was happy to walk away from the weekend with some lessons to help me in the future. One thing I learned – in a Masters field full of CAT1/2’s you can bank on it being fast, intense and competitive. I believe the Tour de Ephrata is on my list of repeats for 2009.
What a day. I’m thankful I left on Thursday – whew. I drove about 7 hours today and that’s too damn much. The drive was comfortable but the extra hours (several extra hours) dedicated to finding a hotel, the road race location, the time trail course and then the hotel itself … were exhaustive. When I FINALLY made it to the hotel (after driving around downtown Lancaster, PA for an hour looking for a place to get some take out) – guess what?
It was prom night. Without these photos no one would believe me. It was a mad house. Too much perfume, too much “Axe,” and too much bling, too much cleavage, and way too many guys in sneakers rather than formal shoes. Proof.
I arrived at the hotel (and couldn’t pull up to the door), I walked a “fur” piece with three bags and such. I entered the lobby after passing six stretch limos, three stretch Hummer limos and a Firetruck. There were at least three hundred people with all the parents and brothers/sisters and such. The bellboy had to make a path for me so I could dodge dresses, tuxes, and lots of kids having a good time. Waiting in line I lifted my Canon 400d and snapped a bunch of photos. Ha.
I’ll get there.
Dinner was good but it was VERY late too. I finally sacked out at 10:30 I realized I had over-done it not just for the day but for the week. I believe my workout on Wednesday (three hours in the AM – not even 12 hours from the race-like effort Tuesday evening) – was killa. I needed to go easy. I hit it again hard on Thursday AM – and knew I hadn’t recovered.
So …. all the driving and hotel shiznet did me in for the day.
When I was ready for bed I had a couple of other issues: 1) the music from “the prom” was jamming and 2) Jojo was using my Mac-cam to catch up with a friend in South Africa. I finally pulled the plug and said – “lights out!”
More from the races tomorrow. No bedbugs here. Cya.
Ok then. I left on time and had an open road with lots of po-po in the way. No less than 6 before I left town. My happy ass is en route to Ephrata, Pennsylvania — near Lancaster, PA. My pal Jojo and I stopped along the way to pick up some of his friends.
(L to R: Sneaky, Red, CrossEye, Slim, and Popeye)
The attached photo depicts the mod-squad – some real punks if you ask me. Thank goodness they sat in the trunk and were a bunch of funky monkies. Then, when we got to the hotel room — Mr. Bigshot — Jojo — was the first one to call for a beer! Showing off. (He puked about 2AM!).
Alright. The road is calling and I’ve got a buck-twenty-five in the morning. I’ll catch up on the photos and travel talk later. Best get the mod-squad up and fed. peace.
Please link over to the site for the Cherohala Skyway. You’ll notice ICE & SNOW in the header photograph. Snow – ice – as recent as last week. BURRR. Warm is coming when? The Cherohala Challenge is coming soon to 400 pair of legs just hankering to hurt. The attached photo is a reminder of what’s coming. Distance junkies are readying their bikes, bodies and water bottles. I’m doing my part to suffer now – so I can suffer later. 9%- yes, that’s close enough to 10.
Plumeria is a small genus of 7-8 species native to tropical and subtropical Americas. The genus consists of mainly deciduous shrubs and trees. P. rubra (Common Frangipani, Red Frangipani), native to Mexico, Central America, and Venezuela, produces flowers ranging from yellow to pink depending on form or cultivar. From Mexico and Central America, Plumeria has spread to all tropical areas of the world, especially Hawaii, where it grows so abundantly that many people think that it is indigenous there.
A beach is a geological landform along the shoreline of a body of water. It usually consists of loose particles which are often composed of rock, such as sand, gravel, shingle, pebbles, or cobble. The particles of which the beach is composed can sometimes instead have biological origins, such as shell fragments or coralline algae fragments.
The State of Hawaii (pronounced /həwaiiː/ or /hawaɪiiː/; Hawaiian: Mokuʻāina o Hawaiʻi) is one of the United States, located on an archipelago in the central Pacific Ocean southwest of the continental United States, southeast of Japan, and northeast of Australia. The state was admitted to the Union on August 21, 1959, making it the 50th state. Its capital is located in its major city, Honolulu on the island of Oahu. The most recent census puts the state’s population at 1,211,537.
And a dozen other things that are mentionable but unmentionable. This photo is terrific. On oh so many fronts. I love the fact that life has its ups, downs and tallness to get us into noticing what’s around us. I notice so many things because of my career, my second career at UTK and because of the way I view the world – through a camera.
This coming weekend is a spring-fling of photos and we’ll find out what Mother Nature offered up this year by way of flowers, spring bugs and buds on trees. Later.
The last of the group presentations focused on “voting.” A burr under my saddle because I’ve got major issues with voting in general. Hanging chads, sneaky candidates, prostitute rings, mismanaging money, taking SUPER-long breaks from sessions, greasing PAC leaders’ vacation plans, etc. etc.
Putting those biased thoughts aside, I opened up to the idea of voting – again. Sorta like the second strike by MLB (I gave up on them and haven’t gone back to watching). Ok-Ok.
Much like the prior three groups – this was an excellent presentation. It was informational, newsy, and persuasive. I felt as if the team of students really dug in and worked hard to convince all of us (i.e., me) to vote. The call to action was a voter registration card! Go figure.
My vote will be cast — in the next presidential election. No worries. And to COM240 – great work!
It rained here most of the day – blah! It was raining when we woke, raining before we rode. The rain passed while we were out, but once we landed back home the pelting of droplets kept coming. And it rained for the rest of the afternoon – and it’s still raining. The forecasters missed the boat, the PFD and the they must have issues reading the radar screen.
On the Big Island it was snowy. Ergo the photo. Lots of it – with a clear view and calm winds. I would have traded the snow for rain today – especially if it were on the Big Island. The ocean, just miles away, makes the snowball toss even more fun. More about that later. Aloha.
I’ve uploaded a great series of photos from Hawaii. Several that seem to fit the spirit of Aloha and many that just make me want to re-visit again. And again. I’ve taken time out to really find some shots from my archives that look great – feel even better – and several that bring a smile to my face. DOUBLE click a shot and the larger image will load. Enjoy.
Thursday was a HUGE blur: meetings had meetings and then it was time for a second workout. Huh? How does that happen? Get up – workout. Go to work. Meet. Meet some more. Meet at lunch. Meet after lunch. Meet during the meeting. Meet again. Finally the end of the day. Workout again. Go home. Clean the bike. Pack the equipment. Prepare the race gear. Pack lunch for Friday. Make breakfast Friday – and Saturday. Make dinner for Friday. Pack fuel for the race. Wash some clothes. Pickup the house. Eat at 9PM. Struggle with staying awake. Go to bed. That was 14 hours.
You got to love it – it’s far, far, far away in a galaxy unknown to most of the world as we know it. Those who are in the know, divers that is, favor the region because days are generally “blue” and the sun shines like it’s stuck on SPF50. Divers favor Chuuk Lagoon for its array of colorful maritime species and its large proliferation of shipwrecks. The lagoon is littered with Japanese vessels that were sunk during fighting in World War II.
Now the blah-dity-blah-blah … Micronesia consists of the Caroline Islands Archipelago in the western Pacific Ocean. In 1899 Spain sold the islands to Germany. Japan later occupied the region and fortified the islands just before World War II. In 1986 these 600 islands and atolls, formerly part of the U.S.-administered Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, became self-governing in free association with the United States. American aid is crucial to the islands’ economy. Enough of the history lesson. Let’s see some good visuals.
Yesterday was very stressful. On a bunch of levels. I then picked my ass up from my chair in my office, packed my bags and headed out into the pouring rain – to drive in heavy traffic. More blah. The trip to Asheville felt like the spin cycle was stuck and I was just getting wet to no end. On the other side of the mountains the sky parted and I saw a glimmer of blue – but then the sun set on me.
I traveled to Greenville, South Carolina again for a race. Another in the Hincapie Sports – Spring Training Series. I elected to travel on Friday because the race started at 9AM this morning … so I camped out at the Hampton Inn. Luck would have it that I found a Whole Foods Market – and that made the trip delightful. My daily ration of asparagus and some tasty tenderloin – along with the requisite after-dinner sweet treat – some non-alcoholic beer and I was set. The asparagus was grilled and the tenderloin med-rare and ready to eat. YUMMY!
I checked in – unpacked and ate. 5AM was coming soon enough – so I tucked in early.
Sure enough the alarm clock worked as planned. I ate (leisurely) – readied my bike – showered and shaved … and strolled to the race site. I was early and there was no line. So far (at that point), great.
When I returned to the car and began the ritual of pinning my number, picking my wearables, finding my drinks and gel-paks … I noted (in HORROR) that my helmet was missing. Ooopps. Prior to the baby going waggghhhh I realized that I placed it in my street clothes bag – NOT the cycling bag. With the helmet in hand I made a vow to use my check list from now on – no questions.
Alright then. Today’s little adventure was 60 miles of rolling hills and a couple of short climbs in the hinder lands near Greenville. The wind, as usual, made its presence known early – clocked at a steady 20mph. And 8 miles of the 15 mile loop were “in the wind.” Oh boy.
RACE TIME: The field was the same size from the prior weekend with some new faces – and some friendly ones that I recognized. Although the first mile was neutral, a hog-dog took off and led for the first lap. Whatever. I stayed near the front and worked – and worked. Three attempts to break away with a couple of guys only motivated the field to jump on us. Some guys tried to get away – with the same reaction by me and the rest. The second lap (15 miles each lap), we were catching the group in front of us and the group behind us was catching us. Big ooops. Now what? The marshal whipped his motorcycle up beside me and said slow down – you need to ride neutral. For the next 5 miles we did just that – ride slow.
On lap three some guys broke off the front and a small “band” of us reeled them back in – and yes, they were very annoyed. This kept happening and I felt like – at some point – a group would bridge away. Nope. Not today. The wind was too strong and the climbs were just steep enough that several us brought the field back up to the ‘jumpers.’ As we passed the finish line for lap 4 the field looked anxious and the tempo really heated up. My heart rate maxed out twice as I attempted to stay with the first 8 riders. I wanted the guys in that small group to be comfortable with my presence so it didn’t look odd when we made the last climb of the day.
We when did make the final climb of the day some fools jumped around us (passing over the yellow line) – the marshal honked his horn and it created mayhem on the front. A guy dropped his chain and before I knew it, the first 8 or 9 guys were now 14 and I wasn’t with them!!!!
With a ½ mile to the finish (slightly uphill), I got on the bridge of my saddle and went into the best time trail position I could muster up – my legs were screaming with anger – my heart rate was 94% of max – and slowly I began bridging the gap. Reiterate – s l o w l y. I just about called it a day and sat up but realized I was nearing those “jumpers” who crossed the yellow line and skated away. At the 200 meter sign I stood up and I promise you – uphill, in the wind, I was going (maybe) 21mph. HA! I held off a couple of guys who wanted my slipstream and I almost got the “jumpers.”
Race Day Two done: 60 miles – rolling with two climbs – 22.8 average speed (we had 15 minutes in neutral) – average heart rate 147 (maxed 2 times) – finished 5th. Collected $20 bucks and headed home – 200 miles home.
OH. Rumor had it that George Hincapie was going to race with the Pro1,2 but never did show. I doubted the rumor – I mean – would George risk a crash in a Podunk race just to whip some ass? No. He’s headed to Europe for a few months to really race. Ride on and good luck George. Maybe we’ll see you next year.
Nuaailua Bay – along the route to Hana is beautiful. It’s on the windward side of Maui and accessed via the scenic Hana Highway. There are many, many terrific views – sites – sounds and fresh flower smells along the road to Hana. If you have the opportunity to travel via a convertible you’ll enjoy the trip even more so. Primarily because the lush vegetation overhead is fully visible and with the trees you also enjoy cooler temperatures. Mostly – that is. Aloha.
Recently I was asked by a colleague to assemble a photo gallery of images. I embarked on assembling my ‘best’ 10 shots and created a poster for the event too. While talking with the fine folks at Thompson Photo, I realized the event wasn’t going to take place. The cost for enlarging my images totaled more that $1,200.
No framing. No matte. No nothing.
Well, a large image, but nothing more. If there were room on the walls of my home for more artwork, I’d move on this. But where the heck will these large pieces be placed, hung or displayed?
Alas the images are stored and gathering a little digital dust. In the meantime, I’ll share the 10 images over the next few weeks. Keep in mind I’ve exported each photo so it will fit on the computer screen.
Today’s image was taken on Oahu last year – just as a storm was rolling into Honolulu. Diamond Head is clearly visible – as is the Pacific. This is a great spot – a great shot – a neat moment. The file is more than 5,000 pixels in width. Enjoy.
Getting to Indian Gap makes for a great hike. It’s an enormous, rock-ribbed peak looming above Newfound Gap. Lots of technical routes, it seems, to the summit. But no trails can be found. I think there is a negotiable route connection between the ridge of Clingman’s Dome/Mount Collins which leads over to Mingus. Otherwise, I think it would qualify as one of the few horns in the Appalachians.
This Dutch Roth photo is wonderful – taken on Indian Gap (the side of Mingus) – depicting the snow in a year when it fell heavily. I’d love to enjoy a hike in this weather!
The regional photographer, Dutch Roth, snapped many, many photos of the National Park and specifically Tremont. Today’s photo is wonderful in that it captures the spirit of the mountains while under a blanket of snow. The black and white format gives this photo a richness rarely seen in mainstream photography. Particularly because of the simplicity and sheer scenic emersion of the forest. It’s truly a great photo. Enjoy.
PS. The Duchess is my TT bike and she absolutely loves the trek to Tremont. Sorry for that confusion.
Interestingly, I learned on my first visit to Hawai’i there are no private beaches. I take exception to that factoid because the Robinson family (who owns Niihau) is totally private. So – I assume the no private beach rule applies to the other islands. Basically Hawaii is open to the public, however most visitors just go to the one closest to their hotel. For a more private experience all you have to do is leave the hotel district and explore less crowded beaches. You will find the sand, surf, breeze, reef and views change greatly as you explore each new beach.
In Hawaii there are soft white sand, black sand, gray sand, and green sand beaches, but not all types of sand are found on each island. The color depends what the sand was created from. In Hawaii the term ‘black sand beach’ is used only for beaches with a high concentration of grains of black volcanic glass. The black volcanic glass is created by molten lava flows entering the cool ocean causing the glassy rinds to shatter. True black sand beaches are only found in a few locations on the Big Island and near Hana on Maui. Today’s photo is a from a beautiful green sand beach on Hawai’i. Let’s start by applying some sunscreen. Aloha.
It was a very long day today: up at 4:45AM for some pre-packing and readying for duckville on the West Sandy. Ducky stories and video will arrive once I’m home and can log in with a faster connection … the videos are ready and the photos are too. I’ll add more in the coming days.
After a morning trip to the lake with Scotty-Ray (Mr. Hollywood), Johnny and his son, Ethan … and his dog Bud-dy (not Elroy), I came back and ate “again” … this time turkey, eggs, smoked ham, gravy, more coffee and juice. I felt like a nap after that – as it was misting outside and kinda foggy. Nope. I picked up my skinny ass and layered on the gear with a few pieces to shield rain. I headed out from Crows Nest loop and traveled out of Henry County to Vale and then to Marlboro. The “distance” from my dad’s house is “far”- – – and with fog and mist even further.
On the return visit I saw a sign worthy of photo-sharing. There is no way that I could tell the story about the sign you see herein without a photo. Now the Paul Harvey ending — when I finally open the restaurant on the Big Island of Hawai’i, it’s going to be called, “You’ins R Here.” Just know that I’ll have killer steaks, whole wheat pastas, smoked chops, moist and tasty chicken – with the best vegetables available. Much more to follow.
The West Sandy was very calm. Nothing moving – except for a few squirrels who got the news that a new cowboy had arrived from Maryville. With his personal pop-gun outfitted with a scope sighted in and ready for some action.
Not a creature was stirring nor the wind nor the rain. In a one hour, forty-five minute trek on the wet roads of Springville, I spotted 9 cars and one school bus. Other than that – it was very calm. The rainy weather pushed out just after lunch. And the roads, while still wet (and slippery), were ridable.
Today was an easy day of recovery – after a serious workout yesterday at TREC. I completed lots of leg work and my personal favorite exercise (leg lunges) topped off the day: 60lb x 30 steps, 70lbs x 30 steps and then 80lbs x 40 steps. If you’ve not tried these – do so. Take twenty pounds in each hand to see if you can “lunge.” If you can’t then reduce the weight. But imagine, I’m up over half my body weight and by a 40th step I’m breathing heavy like I’m climbing a step incline. Whew.
The photo seen below was taken near dad’s house on a bridge at the West Sandy. Notice the water’s calm appearance, and the reflection seems as if it’s been “shopped” in versus looking natural. Believe me – it’s natural.
A few doggies came out to visit me – but none were willing to play. Ha! I suspect the color weather and wetness had them thinking of warm fireplaces and doggie treats, not my skinny ass. DoubleHa!!
This final pan of the day was taken about 1/2 mile from dad’s place and it’s just another little house in the neighborhood – nice and clean – leaves gone but the pond looking very calm. Did I mention the air wasn’t moving?
Last night dad took me on a ride to the Kentucky border. At first I thought it was about 10 minutes away from his description. Umm, at 25 minutes we were still going north. Along the route, a f*&^#$@ fool was on the right side of a dark, two-lane back-country road facing us – with their lights on?!?!??! WTF! We weren’t sure if the road veered off right of the truck – or what. Again, WTF! With a little light rain and some drinks brewing inside dad made the right call and went left. It didn’t feel like left was the right call but – WTF!
(Here’s a photo of dad’s fishing-Christmas tree.)
Ok – we landed at Largos. Steaks were sizzling on the outdoor grill. And there were several peps inside this roadhouse that sits – literally – on the Kentucky/Tennessee border. When you park, you’re in Kentucky. When you walk to the door – you’re in Kentucky. When you step inside, you’re in Tennessee. If you want to dance – you go to the Kentucky side. If you want to drink like many good Baptists do, you visit the Tennessee side. I would suggest that if you’re not accustomed to breathing volumes of second-hand smoke, best bring an oxygen mask. Even my third layer tee shirt reeked.
Now the reason for the visit. Largo’s serves steaks on Thursdays that are grilled outside. It might seem like a no-big-deal-kind-of-thing, but it’s a big deal. Think back to the best steak you’ve had (other than at my house) and your taste buds will suggest that you enjoyed a wood-fired/grilled steak. Largo’s restaurant isn’t equipped with a “Morton’s of Chicago” style grill (LOL), but outside, they equalize the grilling field. YUMMY – I ate the entire 12oz ribeye. Then I did what I normally don’t do, I ate on a baked potato and chewed down a white bread roll (just one). I led off with a bluecheese soaked salad, and a cold Corona. As a true roadhouse, there is no blog, nor website nor referring website to show you a visual. I snagged a poster from the bathroom wall to prove I was there. No I won’t be there on 12/15 for Bluesianna music.
UP and at it. Dad has outfitted my kitchen with a new stainless steel coffee maker – as though I needed one. But it’s kewl. The timer function is nice and it’s all stainless and such. The real goody is the juicer. Now that’s a goody. First thing up was a two-banana, one-apple juicy-juice. I envision some great uses for this gift – like using all the fruits I purchase versus throwing away the aging limes or lemons … or an apple that’s past its prime eating date. More about the juice-eventures in future posts.
The photos of today’s long post are from the front and side of my dad’s lake house. It’s a log cabin (three stories) with four bedrooms and three baths (sleeps 21). Comfy. Cozy and there’s no noise pollution. Look closely and find that he has 2 (TWO) dishes. One for TV and the other for the computer. He prefers to have TV and computer operations running with ample steam to deliver the news, emails, and such.
From the front porch I bagged a squirrel this morning – and will find his furry body later today. Did I hear juiced squirrel in the background? I can cook it and then juice it – and give it to some of my co-workers who truly need a juiced lifestyle. Can you say WTF!
Beautiful images are what I’m trying to write about – to share – and to offer up. Today’s image is just that. BEAUTIFUL. Taken on the Cherohala – one of my personal favorite riding spots in this part of the world – it’s a distant shot of the descent back into Tennessee from the North Carolina side. The slit in the mountain is approximately 10 miles from where the photo is taken. Please click to see the full view. Peace.
Let’s go a little deeper in the photo archive. Umm. When last on the island of Oahu, I visited Hanauma Bay. I actually road there from Waikiki on my bicycle – then about 1/3 around the island. This spot is favorite among tourists staying for a three or four day excursion. The trip is fairly quick from Honolulu and removed enough to give the beach goer a taste of Hawai’i. Interestingly, the day I was there I saw cars waiting to pull onto the road – to take you to the parking lot – to park – to visit the beach. So much visitation that a Park Ranger was counting cars to keep from an overfill. UMM. My little 16lb bicycle wasn’t in the way – and so I took my happy ass down to the beach. It was an eye full. I’d settle for the North Shore. It’s lots less crowded and much more Aloha. Peace out.
Aloha from Hapuna Beach. That’s the Big Island of Hawai’i and it’s the place to be. Could you tire of it? Mabye. If so, then go inland for a few days and experience all there is to see and do. Ski – as in snow ski? Yep. The Big Island’s got it. Mauna Kea is the place to watch the stars and see the snow on Hawai’i. With so much to do, I’d best get planning my 08 excursion. TWO weeks – and that’s without a bicycle (well, I’ll rent a mountain bike and see some off-road sites). In 2007 I replaced the Hawai’i trip with a Yamaha 150 (go figure) – not again. The great state of mind known as Aloha is on the docket from here on – some how, some way, even for a few days. And when I move there I’ll need a great gas mileage transporter. Ride on.
Color – color everywhere. Random placement of images and such on a blank canvass. I should have used more white space (LOL). With my new program, “Color it!”
I’ve got a retouching helper to aid in masking, cloning, cropping, painting and goofing off. You’ll
probably ‘not’ like the attached photo image/photo art, but I had to try my hand at using some of the new tools in the box. Otherwise, this photo does one thing – it adds lots of brightness to an otherwise dreary day. Peace.
The route for my Saturday bike ride started in Greenhills (actually near West End Avenue) and carried me through Belle Meade out to
Old Hickory Boulevard down Vaughn Gap and over to Old Natchez Trace Road. Naturally this has been replaced with the highly modernized Natchez Trace Parkway stretching 442 miles in total length. My ride wasn’t that long. Well, for today anyway.
I covered a mere 73 miles – starting at mom’s house and traveling to mile marker 407 on the ‘new’ Natchez Trace Parkway. I soaked up the entire route – as much soaking as you can do when it’s 35 degrees. This route was a favorite when I was in college. I’d ride this road three or four days a week. The Old Natchez Trace road is strikingly similar to River Road near my home in Maryville. Nothing odd about that … I suspect I enjoyed it so much while in college that I subconsciously moved near a similar location to continue enjoying it later in life? Not sure – but it’s interesting.
At Mile Marker 423.9 along my route I stopped for a water bottle change (I consumed four total) and grab a snack from the rear pocket of my jersey. With the trusty Pentax, I shot the panoramic photo.
This spot, in 1796, marked the location between the United States to north and the Chickasaw Nation to the south. Ergo the Valley Divide. No arrows were found – but I did run into some biking buddies on the Parkway. Another story – another time.
Bike riding has a history lesson associated with just about every ride. Sometimes it’s a “don’t ride too close to cars lesson … other times it’s a slow down you fool you’re not going to outrun all six of those dogs (LOL) lesson.” Today’s lesson was a reminder that the smooth-as-glass, no road signs, no commercial trucks, no stop’n-robs – no nothing (!) road that we call the Natchez Trace Parkway was once known as the first American interstate highway. Long ago, at its best, it was a wide path.
The ‘new’ Natchez Trace Parkway has two lanes that are extra wide, and in most locations it has a shoulder. If you travel the road just make sure to take food, drink and a cell phone. There are no places to stop and replenish supplies.
Although no photo was taken, my turnaround spot was mile marker 407 – site of the Gordon House. In the early 1800’s (like 1801), the Gordons operated a ferry that took passengers across the Duck River. The house was built later in 1818. Long time ago and yes, the ferry has been replaced with a bridge.
The second photo, taken on the ‘old’ Natchez Trace Road, tells the rest of the story.
Ayali (ah-yah-lee). Goodbye in Chickasaw.
Many people touch our lives – and even more brush up against us. I’m so thankful to have a lot of people in my life that are helpful, friendly, giving, loving and authentic. My family – certainly. My girlfriend – Amy-Ames.
My cycling buddies too. This past week several people at my workplace surfaced as “more than just colleagues.” It was a particularly stressful week – and yet – several people shouldered the burden with me – along side me – and I was lifted by them. David J (Captain Internet), Amy (Superhero of Web traffic), Amanda (Queen of ‘get it done’), Brian C (Mr. 24/7), Nick V (Creative Master), and Ricky-Rick (Art Director of navigation).
I’m also thankful that I’m in possession of mental photographs that bring instant smiles. I’ve included one from Hawai’i that I took near Pali outlook. Lush greens, royal blues and strong winds. Here is the link to a short video I took just after I snapped the photos: Pail – Oahu. A cocktail for the senses.
Ever wonder why we wear what we wear to work? Or to the mall – or to the grocery? Ever think about the “wearables” for the day? When we plan our wardrobe we are in essence planning the future. I believe that our future is “dreamed” the same way — we plan it out or it’s planned out for us.
Think about this – how are you going to work tomorrow? What turns will you make along the way? Can you make choices that change your path but allow you to arrive at the destination just the same? Yes. Yes. Yes.
Dreaming about our future is exactly (!) the same way. Meditation experts recognize the importance of thinking clearly and also the significance of “imagining” our destination before we arrive. Some life-coaches call it thinking from the end – backwards. The focus is on the process — with a goal in mind. Ergo – when we discover the vision of what we want – and can then go about taking the steps to arrive at the blue suite, black shoes, white shirt — or — jeans, hiking boots, sweater, backpack — blah-dity-blahblah. You get it.
Today we’re reminded that somewhere on this planet warm weather abounded. Yessur. The goal. Steps to realize the goal include distinct visioning so we’re reminded of the goal with clarity and vivid detail. It encourages realization. Find a photo of what you desire – and focus on it.
It could be success at work. Or, family harmony. For some – the ability to climb a mountain. Others – to make sure their family is healthy, happy and love. From my spot on the globe I’m thinking of a warm destination in the middle of the Pacific. So – we have a view from Hawai’i. I do imagine that on a routine basis.
Enjoy – Aloha.
What a week.
How about 55 hours of work. 17 hours of working out. 8 hours dedicated to UTK (and my students’ needs) … when did I sleep, eat or think! I’m not really sure. Alright then – let’s figure in about 50 hours of sleeping and another 4 hours of driving and 3 hours eating. 8 hours with Amy-Ames. What’s left? Well it seems bigger than it is. With just 24 hours “left over” I had little time (in my opinion) to contemplate the afterlife of ‘work.’ I.E., Hawai’i. Nuf said — “can I get a ‘right-on?'”
No worries, there is enough sun to shine on you too. I’ve picked a delightful photo for today’s viewing pleasure that resonates with lots of folks. The blue sky – the palms – the sand – the slight surf – the shade – the thought of BEING there. Whoa. Ok then. Shine on – Rock on – Right on. Aloha.
Another day at the office. LOL. Seriously – it was more fun today than any other because it was cold outside – I got a new monitor for home (an LG wide screen) – I left on time and there wasn’t much fuss in my class at UTK this AM. Yeah. Happy or not it’s just another day – or so it seems. I’ve attached a random photo for review … actually there was nothing random about today’s photo. It’s from the island of Oahu – and is lovely. I’ve been to Hawai’i everyday this week and plan on that mental vacation as often as possible. Right-on. Enjoy it – I certainly did.
A day off from work. How lovely was that (it was very lovely). Aside from the fact that I didn’t sit through a long series of meetings at the office – most of which could be shorter and kill less trees. No need to use the high-tech shiznet in our conference room – it’s best to print, print, print.
Ok then. I took Friday off and Monday off – and I did what I wanted – GOOF OFF; that was fun. I hadn’t had time to just “be” in way too long. Should I say – not in a long time. Rather than take a “formal” vacation this year, I elected to purchase a Yamaha 150 scooter. Now that might cause some folks a little pain (whatever … vacation or scooter – let me see??). I went the scooter route because it was needed. Is needed.
“Scootie” is a nice addition to the stable of four vehicles, five bicycles and such. Why? … motor-paced training. In the coming year I plan on opening up several cans of whooooop-ass during my races. Training via Scootie will give me an edge. It’s the equivalent to training at race pace and allows for the kind of hard riding associated with racing (24+mph). With Scootie, I can go faster – I can go further – I can train longer – I can train when I need to versus when a group of buddies is ready to train, and I can train even when it’s F’in cold outside. Unless the BGE isn’t in the mood for cold. She’s been good so far – – – we’ll see.
Now for today. I drove Amy-Ames to the Cherohala Skyway. Pointing out the significant percentage grades and the required climbing – particularly as we drove up Montvale and over to “Sweety Pie” (a 17% climb that makes MY legs hurt). The first panoramic photo for today was take atop Sweetie Pie. This is, by the way, just below the top of (- you guessed it -) the Foothills Parkway.
The second – much more impressive photo – was taken atop “Huckleberry Knob,” one of the highest points in the eastern US. Approximately 5,560 ft and it provides a 360 degree view. There is NOTHING blocking the view. Not a tree. “The hills are alive with music … ” LOL! It’s a bald spot on an otherwise nothing spot. There was a Geo-cache bottle hiding near the summit – and we added our own little treat. With a short wooden pencil I had in my backpack, and using some paper we pulled some paper from the Geo-cache, we created a rubbing of the grave marker for Andy Sherman. If you hike to the summit, the grave is clearly marked with a metal cross. Again, I’m talking about Huckleberry Knob just off the Cherohala Skyway. The geo-cache was a nice and interesting ending to our picnic atop Huckleberry. We also found two firearm rounds (a .44 and a 9mm) on the ground. Umm, are guns needed on this hike? I’ll save the answer for another day. Peace.
Herein are some photos taken along the airstrip on the North Shore. This little airport is situated well outside town and certainly off the beaten path. Well – sort of. On this end of Oahu, crime was once very high. Due to its isolated location and proximity to an off-road trail leading to the mountains, this became a fox hole for many criminals doing the “hit and run” on local well-to-do homes.
The road is now paved – for a good stretch (about 8 miles – I’ve ridden it on my bike) and development regulations have minimized potential hotels or resorts from popping up. Ah, the airstrip, Dillingham Airfield – please use these words “supa-badass” when referring to the location.
With mountains as a backdrop and the Pacific just off the north, it’s a hub-bub of flying frenzy. You can wave-soar off the mountains due to the continuous airflow or drift inland and thermal-soar to gain altitude.
Feeling gutsy? Go off shore over the Pacific for some aerobatic flying … I did. Probably the very best activity I’ve ever enjoyed while on vacation. I learned to fly an ASK-21 back in the mid-80’s and it was same model I flew over the Pacific. The only (mega) difference – we flew the plane as it was designed to be flown – as an aerobatic two-person sail plane. Again, ‘supa-badass.’ Click over to my youtube videos and check-m out.
Yes, you heard correct – the Duchess of Plasma visited the Institute at Tremont Saturday. The motorcade traveled from near Maryville out River Road then through Townsend. Most motorists along the way were peaceful and watchful.
A few drivers came a bit close to her – I assume to verify that she is indeed the Duchess of Plasma. With a minimized wind resistance, she traveled 321 at a speed of 24mph (cruising speed). The brief stop at Tremont allowed for a jel-pak and water bottle refill. And a photo. With refreshments, the Duchess was in the mood for some faster paced travel back to Maryville. Existing Tremont we then traveled to the Parkway at 30mph and 25 for most of Highway 321. The trip back home is always a bit faster (mostly downhill) and the wind had settled somewhat. Ahh, the sound of a disk wheel, the aero position, the aero water bottle – and plenty of ‘tempo’ on the Nano.
Nearing the Avery Estate (known as the Country House), she requested a brief respite for another photo capture. Ergo the panoramic insert taken one mile from home. Enjoy.
I’ve been on a kick lately with a huge focus on Hawai-i. Possibly it’s the beauty — more so because it’s so off-the-beaten path — even more so because it’s the favorite spot in my mental vacation these days. Especially with some very difficult people on the career front – even more so because some of them have serious issues with professionalism.
Tar and feather? I didn’t hear that did I? Ok then. The photo of the day is a terrific sunset shot taken from the base of Diamond Head. Look closely and you’ll find the sail boats taking in the last bit of sunlight heading back to Honolulu Harbor for the evening. This is a spectacular time of day — only in Hawai’i.
To the North Shore. Right on. It’s just about this way. I took time out to view some shots from my Hawai-i collection and didn’t realize that I had four photos taken just across the street from Jameson’s.
Ok – so I stitched them together – poorly I might add – but you get the view that I say that evening. Albeit I had to turn my head some to soak all of that view inside my brain, but it was there none-the-less. Knowing what I do know – I would have used a tripod to stabilize the shots and assist my photo retouching efforts to make a better final photo. This was a mega file – 8957 x 1611 (WHOA). In any case, this week has been nothing but Aloha. Again, right on. Mahalo to my Pentax.
The Diamond of today is on Oahu – just a stroll from Waikiki Beach – looking in all directions around the island. The photo is cropped in the photomotolog header – and one of my favorites. I could see nothing but blue stretching out in front of me – and so I pulled out the Pentax and snapped away. Rock on. I’ve enlarged this photo for friends and everyone asks, “where did you purchase the photo?” I usually reply, “on Oahu.” (with my own eyes).
Waimea Bay is a great sun spot on the North Shore of Oahu. It is spectacular. Some view huh?! The water is righteous blue and green. Turtles swim among the swimmers. Lots of colorful fishes nibble at your toes (just kidding). And the sun is endless most days due to the winds that blow from the east.
Typically when it’s raining in Honolulu it’s clear on the North Shore. If it’s overcast on Waikiki Beach, it’s sunny on North Shore. Heck, it can be cloudy inland about five miles and sunny on North Shore. Rock on with your bad self – just bring the proper SPF to ensure you aren’t cooked sunny side up.
I’ve thought a lot about my two trips to Oahu – one stay was centralized in Honolulu near the University of Hawai’i and the other on the North Shore. I prefer the North Shore. Why? Other than the fact that I like surfing but don’t surf, the area has little noise pollution, very few shopping areas and a lot more maluhia (peace).
The personal mecca that I enjoy riding to is the Institute at Tremont, just inside the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. This beautiful site is just 21 miles from my back door (yeah). And if I could ride there on a daily basis I’d be most happy indeed. My favorite stop on the trip to Mecca is the wooden bridge that carries you across the creek to the Institute itself. I’ve stopped on this bridge many times – in each season – and in all types of weather. My trusty Pentax is with me usually to help remember the visual image my eyes truly enjoy. The panoramic photo from today is actually three images that were stitched together – providing the perspective of what the eye sees when standing on the bridge. Visit the Park and stop at Tremont – it’s mecca. Enjoy.
The Hawai’i Five-O show was filmed mostly on Oahu – in and around Honolulu. As a favorite show from my youth, it was a catalyst in driving me to the Hawaiian Islands – as a visitor. On my most recent trip, I raced in a time trail up Makiki Heights, a famous uphill section of Tantalus Drive.
This exclusive residential area of Oahu is spectacular. Other than homes (many of which are multi-millions), there are a few roadside pull-off areas. Terrific views – and that’s it. Jack Lord – who played Steve McGarrett in Hawai-i Five-O, visited Tantalus in several episodes. One of the most talked about, “Death Wish on Tantalus Mountain.” The very road we race our bicycles up – ha. The view from above is magnificent because you look out toward the Pacific and are above Diamond Head. Enlarge the photo and find Diamond Head in the distance. Enjoy. I did.
And you’ll see the Foothills of the Smokies rising up. It’s a grand place to be – to ride – to enjoy. I’m a fan – and I’ll be there tomorrow soaking up the sites, sounds and views. This view was from earlier this year and it’s a favorite photo. You can find the mountain views peaceful or you can find them to be paintings — with lots of things to discover while gazing over the trees and the horizon. It’s spectacular. Peace.
Long week. So I’ll be brief. With a 6:15AM arrival time and a short lunch, I’m done. I thought about this photo most of the day and the warmth that I felt while on Waimea Beach was life-long. I felt it today. I smelled the ocean today. I heard the laughter. And I saw the water rise up to greet me. Yes-sur. I’ll be back — even if only in my memory banks, I’ll be back.