An 808 way of life

Photos

North Shore – I was there today

blue-sun-setting-at-kaiwela.jpgIf you’ve visited it then you know how unique it is and how much of Hawai’i is still alive in the surf mecca of the middle-Pacific. Some suggest it’s the mecca of surfing only beaten by “the big waves” off Maui at Outer Sprecks. Whatev. The North Shore is consistent year-round and a super relaxing part of Oahu. The photo for today was taken at sunset on the North Shore.

Aloha.


Micronesia? Iokwe (ee-awk-way).

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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.


North Shore — looking North inward on Oahu

Kaiwela Town, Oahu

The sunset closes the day on the North Shore, Oahu. This a favorite photo looking toward the tip of the island. It’s a great section of the island because there is a strong flow of winds aloft that keep the area sunny most days. The clouds that form over the mountains pictured here give great lift for soaring.


“Grace is the absence of everything that indicates pain or difficulty, hesitation or incongruity.” William Hazlitt


Tattoos by the numbers.

This is my 1,000th post on the PhotoMotoBlog.

More than 574,480 unique visitors have been to this site since its inception.

The weekly average the past four months has been in excess of 14,000 unique visitor per week.

My busiest day was February 17th, 2010 with 2,359 unique visitors.

Folks logging on my site originate from 37 different countries and the Hawaiian Islands.

Google is used to translate my site into 12 different languages.

I’ve logged more than 400 hours creating the site.

There are 2,535 images contained in this weblog.

Interestingly, it uses just a ½ MB of space.

The masthead has changed more than 100 times.

The posting rules have been broken once; that person didn’t break the rules again.

My blog site ‘encouraged’ management to create a ‘blog posting policy’ within my company.

This site has spun off into 22 other weblogs that I’ve created; the unique visitor totals for all sites is greater than 4,000,000.

I’ve been repeatedly asked to monetize several of my sites (no ads please).

The best part is that I really don’t care what anyone thinks about the content, the images nor the layout.

Somehow I’ve managed to connect with people whom I don’t know … for those folks …  mahalo nui loa!

Thank-you for logging onto my site.

Aloha


“Negative Ghost Rider, the pattern is full.”

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MG and her new ‘toy.’ Oh boy, what’s next, another tattoo?

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Weigel’s Family Christmas, 2008: Santa visited and the kids went CRAZY!

Enclosed herein is a selection of my favorite photos that I took today at the Weigel’s Family Christmas event. More than 170 kids along with Weigel’s chaperons made their way into the Knoxville Salvation Army (gym) to enjoy the celebration. With lots of food, treats, and of course, Santa himself, the event was a huge success. I enjoyed being included because the event reminded me that Christmas is about giving to others without any expectation of a return gift. I’ve not seen nor felt this kind of spirit in many, many years.

It certainly frames Christmas in a new light. Mele Kalikimaka.



Boomsday Photos – the dessert of a wonderful evening.

The final day of August left us with a real “bang” – as in the 11th annual Boomsday fireworks show. This year we enjoyed the show from high above Knoxville in the First Tennessee building with some friends, Jack and Cathie. The view was excellent from Jack’s office – and the best part – no smoke, crowds, traffic issues, the bathrooms were close by and the AC felt pretty good too.

If someone could figure out how to charge for the experience, we’d put “priceless” as a starting point. Enclosed is a brief gallery of shots taken from our viewing post – all of which were taken without a tripod – thus the blurring of city lights at the bottom.

Thanks again Jack and Cathie for a wonderful evening.


America, do we need a wide angle lens?


Batman fan gone ‘fatman’ overboard. Shop till you drop those LBs.


More from Tremont: Twice to Mecca on a Sunday.

The Duchess and I visited Tremont early this morning. Enjoying the quiet roadways, parkway and Mecca itself. Very few cars were moving – and even fewer toward the National Park. The access road to Gatlinburg is closed for a few days and thus car traffic was minimal. I visited Tremont just after the rain finished and captured these shots. Click to enlarge. Enjoy.



Joe Martin Stage Race: Elite Men – atop Mount Gaylor

The photos are few in number because the pros were moving … as if they didn’t (!) ascend the 9 miles to Mount Gaylor. They came up on us very quickly – jumped by us quickly – and were GONE.


Joe Martin Stage Race: Pro WOMEN – atop Mount Gaylor


Joe Martin Stage Race: Atop Mount Gaylor

After a brief ride on my bike this morning, I took a quick shower, ate some lunch and visited Wal-Mart. Yeah. I bought the Canon EF f/4.5 70-300mm lens for my 400d. Alas, most of today’s photos resulted from my purchase. I’m certainly no professional – but I do enjoy capturing what I see.  These are from the top of Mount Gaylor – from what’s left of the tourist stop on Highway 71. Prior to I-540, this was a stopping point for lots of travelers …. today it feels like a ghost town.


The Foothills Parkway: Spring has Sprung. Finally.

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.


Hawaii: the TOP 10 Reasons to consider visiting.

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.


Tour de Ephrata: WOMEN’s CRIT – 15 photos past Firehouse


Diamond views from Hawaii. Just a few photos to illuminate the Pacific.

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.


Size matters. So do Photos. We all know that Hawaii matters. And your bank account(s).

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.


Vote. Or Vote for a No-Vote. Either way – you elect something or someone.

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!


Survivor in the middle of the Pacific. Way-out there in the midst of ahhh.

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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.

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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.

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Ahhhhh.


More ahh – Hawaii-ahh. How Nice.

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Another week at the office. Another week at school. Another week that flew by me way-way too quickly. Another month gone.

Someone told me years ago that life speeds up (perceptively) as we age. My age must be moving pretty fast because the last two months were blurry.

Thinking of far away places like Hawaii consumed a few hours over the months of January and February – but not nearly enough. There were too many anxious moments dealing with things that were distractions … such as … 1) people who lack manners, 2) assholes who felt like proving they are indeed assholes, 3) people spending way-too-much time piddling in the kitchen with nothing to show (not even a few pounds of extra weight), 4) driving to and from the TH/CH and work, 5) time spent going to the store I HATE, 6) time spent trying to help a loved one who doesn’t want help, 7) time spent repairing reputations damaged by assholes who do push people under the bus, 8) dealing with people who lie to avoid being real, and various other crappy-crap things. Venting done.

On the positive side, I set aside time to feel good about my relationship with Ames, time to contemplate racing, time to prepare for my students – and interns, time to care-take of my body, time to care-take of my home, time to reach out to my family, time to dream, time to relax – but certainly not enough of that, and time to build my music library. Along with many other things – – –

March rolls in like a lion and I intend on rolling in with it – but with more smiles, more laughter and more thoughtful allocation of my time. Because as we age – and because time passes quicker as we age – I’m calling a board meeting with my advisers to reallocate the available time. I’ll get back to you about it.

Oh. The scene for today represents an important component of time: vacation. Ahhh.


Nuaailua Bay


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.


Waikiki hula. Oahu nights. Yes, it’s good. All good.

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Its hard to imagine that Waikiki was a hot spot for royal Hawaiians … a place for them to hang out in … let’s say in the 1800’s. The fact is, the area was well known for its swampiness and marshlands. Can you say hot and moist?

The first recorded history of Waikiki involved the chief of Oahu named Kalanikupule. In 1790 he hijacked a ship with the intent of attacking Kamehameha I. The famous battle of Nuuanu Pali began and Kalanikupule was defeated. Because the ship was hijacked at Diamond Head, the area became an important part of Waikiki history. As time passed, rulers brought many guests to Waikiki and some parts were known as private beaches.

In 1901 the famous hotel Moana (pronounced “moe-anna”) was constructed and instantly became a sore spot for natives. The locals began to see their land change, and with time, Waikiki was transformed from a swampland to a place of beauty. While the area had been called unsanitary and dangerous due to the mosquitoes (a plenty), the landing strip for them wasn’t added in last year (I just made that up). Actually the mosquitoes were large enough to require a landing strip!

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It was ruled that the swamp be replaced with a canal in order to drain it completely. The Ala Wai canal was constructed in 1921 that lead to a number of  hotels being built. With such, wealthy guests started flocking to the island. Today, Waikiki is the exclusive hot spot for Oahu. Beautiful. Full of bodies. Lots of beach front and yes, it’s a lovely place.

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Once Hawaii became a state of the union, hotels and resorts popped up like someone wanted to make money. The hotels and businesses clustered on the waterfront offered many cultural activities and the entertainment venues were endless. And this holds true today.

When you visit Oahu, please know that you’ll find shopping options similar to any top 10 city on the US mainland. If I remember correctly, there are two Tiffany stores on the same road. Plenty of bling-bling with the tan you bring home. Gotta run – Aloha.


Working out, working, working out … now what?

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Yes, the Tuesday workout began at 6AM – at TREC and it was a good ‘un. The workday unfolded with my class at UTK, meetings, and more meetings. Then a final workout of the day which included pain. Sixty minutes of fun and excitement. Not really. The wind was howling again but the temp was fluffy-warm. Blah-dity-blah-blah. Two hours, forty-five minutes of working out.

Tomorrow’s workout is basically 2.5 hours on the bike. I’ll watch some Tour DVD-action during the AM and if it’s raining (predicted) I’ll do the same after work.

Today’s photo is from the early years when riders in the Tour were not athletes. They were not sports figures. It was a method for making a living … “smoke ’em if you’ve got ’em.”


Something about rest. Coach says, “get ready.”

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The last two days (Sunday and Monday) have been comfy. I rode one hour on the trainer on Sunday and a half hour this morning. Ahhh. I’m rested. I’m ready and my coach says be prepared for what’s to come.  (Hard work.) I’d use the f-word but there is no need to emphasize the motion, pain, suffering, and shiznet coming with the next four weeks or the next six months. No need. If you read this blog you’ll hear about it.

Jump ahead. This blog is about racing. I’ve tried to show some cool photos and yes, some are kewl. However, the real reason for this blog is to depict the true suffering of a bicycle racer. Hopefully I’m not talking car accidents, road rash or other crappy-crap. What you’ll see, hear and read over the next six months on this site is a real-world perspective of amateur racing. I’ll share the prefacing work … then the racing season from a couple of vantage points. The first – from the saddle. The second – from a camera at the races, during the race, after the race and from the road.

Whatever. It will be full of photos and messages about the adventure. Ride on.
 


Orbea: my RR bike – by David Avery

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The bike pictured here is a Spanish-made Orbea that I ride just about everyday. In the configuration seen herein, it weighs just 15.6lbs. That doesn’t include the water bottles but the total weight does include the pedals, cyclometer, and heart rate monitor. Pretty light – and very stiff. It’s outfitted with Campagnolo Super Record and Reynolds DV46 wheels. This is “Tour issue” equipment. Even the bottle cages are made of carbon – as is the handlebar, the stem, the brake levers, the crank arms and seat post. LIGHT – light – LIGHT.

Later this year I’m starting a project to build a sub-14lb bike. Yes, less than 14lbs. Roll on.


Another photo from the David Avery gallery of images.

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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.


David Avery photos – random shots for the day.

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We’ll stick with snow ….

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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!


White, black and green. Hawaii beaches rock.

green-sand-beach.jpgInterestingly, 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.


Another sunset … another Friday

one-sunset-1-11-08.jpg What a week. I feel exhausted from all of the highs, lows and no-shows. And somehow lifted by the fact that the sunset was really beautiful today. Reminding me – this too shall pass.

Peace.

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somewhere it’s going to be sunny

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It’s been crazy today.

I’ve thought about nothing more than work. Most of a day. Earning my keep has kept me from contemplating Kona … or any other warm place. The weather today was ultra-warm and so inviting. My bike hugged the roof rack as though it was ready to go … but my butt never sat on it. The warmth of the air was a signal to the chain to consider what kind of torment I might throw at it – but alas – nothing. I thought about it – and didn’t go.

For most of my working-life I make time for riding … even when the days are long and tight on time. Today I missed riding. A lot. Although I hit TREC early, and my time there lasted only 1.5 hours. I needed 3 hours today. Oh well, I’m glad I got up at 5:20 and was working out at 6AM~!

At high noon tomorrow my soul will rest some. So much will be behind me – and my team. I’ll take time to find my way to Tremont – the place I call my personal Mecca. I hope it will give me the respite I’m seeking. I know Friday I’ll have the time for sure.

The photo today is great. Enjoy.


9949 10708 SUNSET

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That’s about all I want to say regarding today. The sunset was lovely, seeing the BGE was terrific and I’m glad I’m healthy.

The list of reasons why I could be unhappy, sad or even depressed are many. I’ll pass on sharing them. All of the “no’s” came that today suggest one thing- they came all at once!

This is the very time I sit back enjoying a Sam Adams and contemplate a little Aloha.

Peace.


brisky icey

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Yep, it was cold yesterday morning. However, with a 1/2 day workday coming, I had to get my happy (not) ass out of bed and get going. I started off with a 1.5 weight workout prior to the ride. In addition to the ride, I had a few other Saturday morning tasks to complete. Once again I almost turned around before I started. The neighborhood bully-dog came at me while traveling up the street. Hell, I wasn’t three driveways from home!

I made a left turn and a punk kid ran a stop sign without even looking. I elected to slow down and give the car the right of way (smart thinking). As he passed I shared my enthusiasm for his driving expertise. As loud as I could. So loud his passenger (what looked to be his little brother) heard me. After another four dogs tagged along “wanting to play” – I wasn’t in any mood to ‘play.’ I don’t mind the doggies who have a little run behind me or beside me and bark some … no worries. But when they lower their head and flap those ears back, I would rather get off my bike and walk. This added up to enough crap and I was ready to call it quits-for-the-day. On my way home, I stopped long enough to capture the photo of the day on River Road. I like winter but I’m ready for spring.


Happy-Happy New Year

northshore-near-knoxville.jpg   My workout yesterday was pretty tough: 2.5 hours on the bike followed by a 1 hour weight workout with single leg squats, lunges and blah-dity-blah-blah. More than enough to empty my stomach. 

What’s funny about my eating habits is the simple fact that I eat a lot of calories. Usually more than twice the amount an average male consumes. During the  “off” season I eat about 4,000 calories per day. And in the racing season I consume approximately 6,500 calories per day in food – with 1,000 calories of fuel on the bike. A 7,500 calorie day is not uncommon.

With an empty stomach yesterday I was ready to feast. Ames and I set about making a great meal and a New Year’s celebration quietly at home. Last night was super-fun. We cooked up multiple treats: filet of beef, crab cakes, escargot, prosciutto, stuffed portobello mushrooms, tasty wheat bread with cheese, salad with mango dressing, spinach dip on the side and carrot cake for dessert. Red wine flowed and it was mighty difficult to stay awake after the “feast.”

I stayed awake until 11:05 – then crashed until 11:59 – when Ames woke me up for the ball drop in NYC and a midnight kiss.  I actually stayed up till 1AM to just “stay up.”

Today I got up and ate (ha) again. We started off with buckwheat pancakes, syrup and bacon. I added a banana in for my fruit selection. Within two hours I ate again. Oh well, I knew I’d need fuel for a New Year’s day bike ride. The wind was howling and the temp was pretty brisk.

Outside it was 36° but it felt like 26° (wind chill due to 20-30 mph winds – gusting at times to 35mph). Burr. I rode for an hour and 40 minutes.

The photo of today was taken near Northshore Drive. Even the ducks were sitting on the water.

Have a blessed New Year. 


The year-end. Happy-Happy

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It was a great year on several levels. I’m thankful for so much – mostly because it was a year of good health and safety.

The year rang in with a big bang at the girlfriend’s house — with the kids — and we keep rocking from there. While I didn’t take a “formal” vacation during the year, I did take time out to travel to races and to South Carolina for a long weekend. I visited my dad – and mom – and was in Arkansas three times this year but didn’t see my family who live there.

I put 37,000 miles on my car, 12,349 miles on my bicycle(s), and flew several times for business with untold miles. What else? I should have counted the Sam Adams beers I consumed (ha!). The numbers are really funny – especially when you think about a full year. Numbers can take you just about anywhere. Nuf said.

I visited Tremont today and enjoyed my journey through Townsend into and out of the National Park. The photo and movie are just down from the Institute’s office. Happy New Year.


Another rainy day … somewhere

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And it was here in Maryville as well. Rainy – gloomy and gray. It poured at times and others it drizzled as if the sky was reloading or something like that (ha). I sought brighter skies and more pleasant thoughts of basking in the sun – even getting sunburned! Ah – now that actually sounds nice (just a little burn – nothing serious).

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I’ve attached two photos from the Big Island of Hawai’i. Yep, Hawai’i. The first is from a famous and highly visited waterfall named “Rainbow Falls.” Along the Wailuku River, the Rainbow Falls area is part of a Hawai’i State Park. So – no taking water back to the mainland. Although beautiful to observe, it’s a dangerous diving, swimming and wading area.

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Therefore, pull out the camera and snap some shots for those rainy, gloomy and gray days of late December, January and February.

Aloha.


A new flag

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I bought a new flag today – an American flag. When I was shopping at Lowe’s I noticed their selection and picked out  a nice embroidered flag that should last for a couple of years. Of course, I bought painting supplies, lights, bulbs, tape, and several things not on my list. The to-do list just got longer.

I had a Tennessee state flag but it was literally ripped off the flag pole and I’ve not found it yet. Oh well. It was faded and worn.

The photo for today is an American flag flying over the Arizona Memorial. This shot is really interesting because it captures a portion of the Memorial itself and the flag at a full rip. The Memorial is open and allows wind, rain, snow (no, just kidding) and other elements like birds to engage with the site. Seems like the wind is constantly howling in the Harbor (Pearl Harbor). 

I’ve been so locked down with chores today that I didn’t get an opportunity to photograph my new flag. I will photograph it once the blue skies return. We’re likely to get some rain tomorrow – so I’ll wait.

Aloha.  


Mele Kalikimaka!

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And the story says, on a bright Hawaiian Christmas day, the island greeting is what they say.

May-lay-ka-lee-key-ma-ka” translates to Merry Christmas in Hawaiian. The sun to shine by day and all the stars at night. From the land where palm trees sway – let’s get on the plane and get our happy asses there – like – To-DAY!

Aloha.


Nine x

10 (ten). 9×10=90. As in ninety. Miles.

When I woke my intent was to ride 85 miles, but the road opened up and I just agreed with it. It wasn’t the best ride ever. More about that herein.

When I left the house this morning at 7:30, it was about 39 degrees outside. Cold enough: a) to make my nose run, b) my legs feel like lead, and c) more than enough cold to say “go get back in the bed.”

“Base 1” is the specified time of the year when we saddle up and ride – ride – ride. Not for speed, but purely for time. So why the mileage? Because it forces you to accept “time” and the “time” can be either a friend or something you dread.

Early out means less cars and less dogs. Not always, but most of the time. I headed out Davis Ford and then over to 321 – across and keep going. Down Blockhouse and over to the area parallel to the Foothills Parkway. Once on Six Mile Road, you travel six miles. Thus, the name.

When I cross Highway 129 I don’t know the name of the roads, I know the sites. Your eyes take in all sorts of trailers, mobile homes, abandoned cars, trucks with trees growing in the engine compartments, a horse here and there with a swayed back – many of which look ready for the glue factory – and all sorts of stuff. Mostly it looks like people are poor. Every church has a reader board – analog style. “Without Christmas there wouldn’t be an Easter,” one sign read. Several signs touted Holiday Cantatas with multiple showings.

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I stopped for a bio break at a church – hoping to refill a bottle while sharing one on the ground. Nearing completion, the pastor pulled up – I departed (the church lot).

During the core riding period (Build 1 and 2), when I’m training this road, I don’t really look around – I look at the speedometer in front me. My focus is on maintaining speed – at 21 or 22mph. It requires intense focus to keep your legs turning over even when the road rises in front of you. Dogs help your speed because they give you a reason to jump. But I don’t see the shacks, the mobile homes, nor the areas where it’s obvious that people don’t have much. This time of the year it hits home a little harder.

In the current training period (Base 1), I’m focused on distance and time. Longer is better – or so I’ve been told. What I know is that I traveled far enough today to bonk. Probably a combination of not eating and drinking enough during the ride, and due in part to the “test” (strength) I endured after work yesterday. No matter – it was a long day.

If that isn’t enough, look a little closer at the math. Ninety miles by yourself equates to a 128 mile group ride. I use softer math than what Borysewicz used. Eddie Borysewicz the former coach of the US Cycling Team calculated solo rides of 65 miles to be equal to a group ride of 100 miles. I soften the math to a 7/10 metric. You get the idea.

Either way – 90 miles or 128. It’s a long way. Think about a car ride that far. You’d check your gas gauge for sure. When I got home – I PIGGED out!

My sweet heart is pictured herein. She’s been with me for almost three years. Today when we stopped the mileage year-to-date is just over 12,000. Better gas up.


Correction – STOP the press

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Ooops. I was in error. My exact time was 6:03:57. That’s closer to 6:04 rather than 6:02. And I finished 6th not 7th. I don’t give a rat’s ass about position – I DO care about the time. The ride was 117 miles not 115 as stated by the official. Several of the leaders checked odometers at the beginning and end: it WAS 117 miles. The clock – was it our friend … (?) … heck I wasted two minutes at two stops just trying to eat and reload liquid. Never mind the fact that we could have hauled ass down the other side of the Cherohala Skyway. Meaning – rather than cruise at 40mph, we could have turned on the power and eked out 45mph … again, trimming time. SO much to think about – and so many months to prepare. (double ha!)

It’s good to think back and remember the details of events.


Retro Cherohala

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Back in June of this year, I participated in a “ride” that was timed. Meaning, it was an organized event (not a race) that was open to anyone with a bicycle and a helmet. Pay your $40 and you’re in. The ride is called the “Cherohala Challenge.” It’s not just a ride, it’s a race against the clock. Of course, I didn’t know that until after I completed the event. Umm.

So – there are some 300 plus people lined up with the intent of riding this “beast” and somehow enjoying some (ha!) portion of it. Let’s put the ride in perspective – it’s 117 miles, includes 9,800′ of climbing elevation, one climb is 9 miles at 9%, the Dragon is full of curves and motorcycles, and a lot of people who ride the event at the ‘front of the pack’ are riding over their heads. So you best come prepared.

The night before I was eating steak, drinking beer before dinner – wine with dinner – and just imagining the fun I’d have the next day (double ha!). Little did I know that many of the guys I race against in the Masters division would show up and use this “ride” as a training race during the transition month of June. Oh boy.

Ok – the first 40 miles are fine – we’re cruising at 28, 29 and 30 on the flats. And a group of 110 (or so) riders are together — meandering through the back roads of Monroe County wiggling over to the Dragon. Several of these “riders” are getting a little edgy — many of which have ‘tudes about the (!) slowness of the pace. Naturally the true bike Nazi’s in the group are annoyed with the ‘tudes and basically scoff at their jumpiness near the front. I’m particularly annoyed because nearing the first serious climbs my water bottle cage BREAKS and I lose the full bottle … not the near empty bottle. The language wasn’t pretty. SO — I’m basically begging riders to snag water and fill up the empty bottle while we’re cruising toward the first climbs. NOT GOOD. REPEAT. NOT GOOD. I was in a position to get dropped if I couldn’t replenish liquids along the way. Cause there was NO stopping with this group. Thankfully a kind rider gave me a full water bottle.

As we approach the first section of the Dragon, I anticipate a surge by the ‘tudes — and I was right. There was. However – their eagerness was dramatically overcome by the sheer might of the leaders’ pace … and within one mile of the start of the climb the field of 110 was cut down to a tight 12. I was in 7th position. This felt good. Except for the fact that my heart rate monitor read OVERLOAD and my legs were screaming WTF, WTF, WTF! We continued climbing and then enjoyed the first descent. Then climbed again – to descend again. On the second descent, we dropped two riders who weren’t willing to let go of their brakes. Now we were 10.

Nearing the Cherohala we began climbing – and climbing – and climbing. I had ridden the Cherohala twice before and anticipated the hard portion, but the climb leading us to the Cherohala was new. And it was hard. The pace was firm. The grit in everyone’s eyes said something interesting: we’re pushing hard and not stopping for shit. On the 9 mile, 9% climb I was dropped. The photo herein is when I was at my worst on the ride. A photographer called “Killboy” (who shoots the crazy bikers on the Dragon) was shooting us. Probably laughing his ass off – and shaking his head at the foolishness of the Challenge. Whatever. Six riders got away – and I was left behind with four other guys. We dropped one and then the three of us traveled the last 30-something miles together.

Close to the finish I dropped the two guys I was with and crossed the finish line in 7th position with a time of 6:02 (six hours, two minutes). Had I known that a sub-six was a “big deal” I could have done a sub-six. Ah, the pleasure of knowing it will be on the list for 2008. Triple Ha. Afterwards I ate three hamburgers, two bags of chips, drank two Cokes, ate three cookies, two bananas, a 32oz protein drink and went home. In route home I bought a super-sized Smoothie at Smoothie King. I ate again that evening and it was another huge meal. I calculated my calorie burn at 6,000 calories for the day. Is this crazy or what!

If you care to join the ride – be prepared. It’s nothing but climbing that’s in your face. And best of all, it’s got killer views all along the Cherohala Skyway. Peace out.


The blinders are off

duck-blind-view.jpg I’ll be brief today – partially I’m tired – and more so because I’ve got a lot on my mind. Much of it taken away from the trip these last few days and even more from a drive with nothing to do but think. I affirmed that only I determine the outcome of my life … each and every day.

We influence and live our future long before it plays out on life’s stage. Imagine the clothes you selected to wear today. At some point you envisioned wearing those clothes, and made the choice. Life is really that simple. You envision something happening and then it either does or it doesn’t. I’m specifically talking about choices. We choose to do or not do. Try or just “get-it-done.” Eat healthy or not. Over drink or moderate it so we feel better the next day and accomplish more. Take time to improve our health or detract from the life we’re given by the Big Man who’s driving this gig.

Our overall happiness is determined by the choices we make, the drugs we consume and the way we interact with others. Sometimes life isn’t fun – sometimes it isn’t “happy-happy” – it’s got bad news piled upon sickness and all kinds of crap. When we layer on nasty vices that pinch our lifespan, we only compound life’s problems.

Now the great news. Brian Regan kept me company for many of those 301 miles today. Big HA’s everywhere.

Herein is view from my dad’s duck blind on the West Sandy. The photo was taken on a calm day – little wind – misty sky – and moderate temp. Nice pan.


We’re not all here because we’re not all there.

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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.



Sandy was calm

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.

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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. 

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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?

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Largos (not in KeyWest)

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.)

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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.

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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.

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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!

Peace out.


Beauty – that’s kewl.

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.

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Compare and Contrast.

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The draw of the mountains (for some people) is undeniable. Similar to the draw of the ocean, it’s where life originates.

Headwaters trickle from streams atop mountains, flowing to nearby rivers, and then to the oceans of the world beaming with life.

The lure of the mountain’s call is a definitive source of energy for me personally. It’s probably the internal compass leading me (and many, many others) to tap in the unseen energy. Much like a radio station frequency, finding it and locking into it requires focus but once there you can push the “button” and tap into it. Probably the very reason I live so close to them. This may assist my internal compass in finding the radio station much quicker – maybe. The magnetism of the ocean, for me, is an equivalent draw and a powerful one as well. Ergo the reason I write about the ocean (specifically the Pacific) so frequently.


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Attached are two photos – very similar to one another. The first is 2/3’s of a pan and the second is a full pan. The difference is significant. Both were taken on my back deck this morning at sunrise.

“Back in the day” I used film and piecing techniques to create similar photographs. However, the process was much slower and room for error was huge. The mountains in the background are the Foothills of the Smokies. Just an eye shot from my back door. I’d best visit them today. Peace.


80.5 (miles) to the other side of the bridge.

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Today’s route was modified on the fly – on the road that is. Rather than traverse the Foothills Parkway, which would have added significant climbing to an 80 mile ride, I elected to turn left on River Road (after a long trek from home toward Seymour and then over {very close} to Pigeon Forge. The distance, calculated on the road, was a suitable option to give me a minimum 80 mile ride. The best part – I traveled to my personal mecca – The Institute at Tremont. Mind you, I’d prefer pulvinar riding pants versus the bibs I wore. After 4 hours the booty is a little sore. (LOL).

Here is a link to the bridge at Tremont – in winter – with snow – and it’s obviously cold.

Todays’ photo is from the other side of the bridge – the side I rarely photograph because it’s usually dark on the south side. How nice to find some wonderful sunlight brightening up the water, rocks and trees. From Tremont it’s 21 miles to the back door – and that was just about an hour travel time. I think I’ll rest now.


If that wasn’t enough.

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.



More Ahhh.

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.


A post.

It was a wonderful Tuesday – with lots of sun – better, warmer weather and a nice day overall. I took advantage of the weather and ventured outside after work for a ride in the dark. Yeah. Best bring warmer gloves for tomorrow night. Ok – overall this week is going to be great. Great. Because it’s all about having fun from now on. I sound like I’m convincing myself, but really it’s all about fun. Do you ever look at folks – say in their 60’s – and wonder … have they had fun in their lives? What are they living for? What is their retirement plan? What … what … what if … why … are they having fun? Have they had fun? What’s the word fun mean? My def: F-U-N > smiles, laughter, people talking, music, mental vacationing (regularly), and a general mental attitude of … “I want more of that please.” Nuf said.

I continue to notice one thing: people postponing fun tend to have less fun. ERGO – Let’s have more fun. Can I get a right on?!

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Random image of the day – very random. Figure it out. Yeah, it’s the garage, well a small corner of a 2,100 sq ft garage.It feels more like a gallery with some kewl “shiznet” in it than a garage. I’ll snap some mo shots. But it’s my escape from the world of riding, the world of racing, the world of advertising and the University.

It’s a great place to peel off a few hours while doing nothing but care shiznet.


Mile Marker 423.9

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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.

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The second photo, taken on the ‘old’ Natchez Trace Road, tells the rest of the story.

Ayali (ah-yah-lee). Goodbye in Chickasaw.


Briktops.

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Last night we (mom, Thurman, Amy-Ames and moi) traveled to “Briktops” on West End Avenue. My treat. IT was yummy. The restaurant is the site of the former Houston’s Restaurant (a long-standing Nashville favorite) – just about 3 minutes from mom’s place and is well worth the visit. It’s nice to step out and get away from the gobble-gobble of turkeyville. I ate enough turkey for next year.

On Thanksgiving we ate at the Country Club — and I had (!) scrambled eggs with cheese, roast beef, grilled asparagus, shrimp (chilled), garlic crackers, Starchuck coffee and some chocolate silk pie to wrap it up. Blah-blah-blah. Here is the photo of the day – me and Ames at Briktop – smiling and having fun. Yeah.


Thanks.

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.

Aloha.


Falling colors.

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Traveling through the Great Smoky Mountain National Park on Tuesday of this week, I stopped and captured a photo – randomly – to make sure I reminded my own eyes where the colors live this time of year. Fewer of them are on the trees – more and more I find them on my car, on the roof and the ground. The trip to and from Gatlinburg was a bit – shall we say interesting and disturbing. En route, an SUV met a large motorcycle head-on just up from Metcalf Bottoms. One person was ER’d away (that means to the emergency room – I’m NOT referring to Queen Elizabeth!) – and I don’t know about the second person. I’m not even sure what happened. The SUV had to be towed – so it was a significant crash. I SLOWED down after that site. And will SLOW down in the Park. Whew.

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The photo of the day was taken near Sugarlands Visitor Center after a great meeting with a great client. (Greatness defined as important and valuable.) Each time I meet with the folks at Jackson Mountain Homes I truly enjoy the discussion and the feedback (even when we need to improve something). Politeness is extended – courtesy to “be yourself” is given – creativity is expected but not demanded. It’s pretty easy to understand why JMH is a successful cabin rental company. If you go to the mountains, stay with Jackson Mountain Homes – they do take your vacation personally. Peace.

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River Road.

Near home. At home. The favorite among those who bicycle near the Foothills. The River Road (or Old Walland Highway) is the “standard” on a weekly route to and from The Institute at Tremont. I’ve rarely stopped … but did so today. Well, yesterday I stopped. The photo of today was taken roadside – near the bridge that carries you from River Road to Highway 321. I’ll add nothing more – enjoy.

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Now that I have your attention.

I love you Amy-ames. My email today had you really worried! Yessur. Ok. I’ll post fun-fun for now and get back to the real posts for later. XO, D

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It’s called: dreaming.

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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.

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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.
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Big Egg. Big Bub. Big Junction.

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Ok – first – the Big Green Egg. This ginormous egg is a terrific ceramic smoker. This lunker is stashed off River Road and hasn’t been used now for many months. I suspect an offer of $1,500 would snatch it .. but I’m not sure. I’ve got the “mini” and it’s been in operation for about 10 years now. It’s easy to cook on/with – using both direct and indirect heat. You can get a 6 hour cooking cycle from one small batch of charcoal. It uses real coal only. And with a 6 hour cycle, you can change the smoke every 40 minutes based on what you cook. Start with steak – using pecan. Then cook some fish – using cherry. Finish off with some pork chops – using hickory. YUM-yum-Yummy. Visit Big Green Egg and find out more.

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Why the hell is it that folks have to deface signs in an effort “to leave their mark?” I’m amazed at the lack of respect – and the attitude that joins forces with penmanship like we see here. Such antics affect me … why? Is it because some of us want pristine signs giving us information? Or possibly that additional graffiti detract from the sign itself? If you look closely, “Bub and Lisa -07″is written in black ink at the top of this sign. Can I get a “WTF.” If my can of gasoline were handy I would have erased this tacky addition.IN any case, the mountains of North Carolina are in the background and are easily viewed from the Cherohala Skyway. Enjoy.


The sun. Shine on me.


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.


And it was. Ahhh.

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.

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So it rains. Finally.

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After much ado about dryness, we’ve got a little wet weather. That should clear the air and provide a fresher smell come Thursday. Let’s hope so. The fall has been dry – yet we’ve enjoyed tons of bluebird days. My gut tells me we’ll endure more rain over the winter months than in previous years – and with warmer temps – more rain than snow. Oh well – enjoy each day as though it were the only day we’ve been given. Had I reflected upon that thought earlier this week I wouldn’t have posted some of the nasty-gram-posts that appeared in my blog. Whatev. It’s all about being human, right? Today’s photo is just that – rain-full and peaceful cause it’s taken near Townsend, Tennessee. Where’s my Gortex?


No# 2. I don’t mean business. Unless you know I mean business.

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.

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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. 

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The naked truth. Ahh – that feels great.

The truth set me free this morning. It was a combination of great coffee – a little laughter from my friend’s blog about her cat’s toys (cute) and the fact that I’m spending the day off with my girlfriend, Amy. BGE for now.

The TRUTH: I’m often amazed at how people will tell you who they are – and they do so with every encounter. Some people have it all – and aren’t happy. Associated with my career I encounter lots of people – both in work and at the University of Tennessee. There are a few people I know who have accumulated real wealth – I’m talking real wealth. However, the businesses they own tie them down … to the business(es) and thus the money becomes a noose of sorts. When contemplating why people are so damn moody – it’s probably because they’d rather be out fishing or doing something fun. Imagine having enough money to do what the hell you want to do when you want to do it – and because you have some commitment to your business(es), you … well … cannot. If you know “WTF” – then “WTF!!!!”

I’ve been a whipping boy for moodiness long enough – I tend to ‘take it’ because I’d rather not push back due to the flack-attack or the ‘tude’ that comes with the response. Not any more. That ended with the last cup of coffee 2-Day.

The last few months have whipped my ass.

Here’s where I’m at on this topic: crabby people suck. People who say, “I don’t push people in front of the bus” (and DO) – suck. Even if they are paying clients – they suck. People who discount your opinion when you’ve got the most valid opinion (and knowledge) in the room – they suck too. What really sucks – is the fact that being happy and helping one another is a lost art and curt rude behavior is the accepted norm. When you leave horsepower at the starting-gate, you run a race less-than-your-best. How odd is that? I mean, if you had, for example, 550 hp for your race – wouldn’t you want to tap into it? Some people like placing a governor on the engine just to make sure we conserve fuel (LOL).

FEITCTAJ – fit-z-ga (Russian for “Fuck’emiftheycan’ttakeajoke.) Ahh, that feels better.
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Some of us have simple pleasures in life that keep us tracking – fewer have none and they are even happier. I am in awe of the natural setting that surrounds us – especially here in east Tennessee. Just a quick bike ride and you’re in the National Park. How awesome is that?! Just a little further and you’re in North Carolina on the Cherohala Skyway. How awesome is that?! Post #1 today is from Tremont – at the creek – by the bridge – where the water runs peacefully – where I love to stop and soak up the world. Guess where I’m going 2-day: at-The-Creek-in-Tremont-Soaking-up-the-sounds.


The Duchess visits Tremont.

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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.

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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.


Sparkling green. Eden of the Pacific.

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I think therefore I can imagine – and without having visited (yet) Palau, the 343 islands that make up this “Eden” are highly attractive. Little did I know that the TV program, “Survivor” was
once there – oh boy. Whatever – I’m assuming the producer selected an outer island – possibly #342. Let’s hope so.

 

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The more I research this destination, the more I realize it’s got my name on its list. Hell, it’s way-far from what we know and it’s even further than the weather-man can talk about – even with weekend updates (LOL). I say – “sunny, warm, and full of blue-bird days.” Best not get sick – you’ll have to travel to Guam or Honolulu to find assistance. Right on.

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So when I go there, I’ll likely stay at the Palau Plantation Resort. The property is tight – right – and very pri-vite. Can you say, “my new home.” Let’s mentally go to the place we fashion as mecca each day. Why? It’s healthy – it’s also the quickest method of realizing a dream. According to Dr. Mitchell Perry, author of In the Zone, visualizing your future gives the mind control over the body and ultimately over the future.
Can I have a eatable version of “In the Zone?”

The visuals are killa – and worthy of visualization. Right on.


Palau

Another beauty for the eyes. Yes, it’s WAY out there in the western part of the Pacific. That pearl is called Palau. I would have loved to be there today – sunning and relaxing (not sure if I could relax but I’d try). With a tropical paradise surrounding you, what else is there to do? It’s an awesome natural environment to snorkel, scuba, hike or just watch the sting-less jelly fish. Yes, there is such a thing.

Take a look-see at the photo gallery (since I’m all about photos you’ll find these exceptional and worth viewing), and you’ll discover several visual reasons for at least a mental visit. I suggest the mental visit first – as it’s 4,609 miles from Honolulu (like flying from Atlanta to LA) and most folks fly to Hawaii then to Guam then to Palau. Did I hear two weeks of vacation required??? Rock on.


the money shot.

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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.


Mecca – at last.

After a weekend full of working out: Saturday was slated for three.point.three hours of motor-paced riding with the BGE (that is Ames), with another three hours of power-washing the driveway – then grilling some tasty steaks (YUM) and football.

WHOA. I’m tired.

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Today, I worked for four hours and then road to my favorite place – “Mecca,” a.k.a., The Institute at Tremont. Today’s image was taken at the wooden bridge which carries you across to the Institute itself. I thoroughly enjoy stopping there to take in a moment of silence. The water is very peaceful and the autumn air felt great today. The lack of noise pollution is refreshing and I mentally go “there” when life’s stresses pinch me during the day. Today I added a .mov to give you some sound to the silence that awaits the visitor. Enjoy.


Which way?

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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.


Kai. Right-on. Kai.

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And there’s plenty of salt in the Pacific Ocean. Kai, Hawaiian for “salty water,” takes you to a wonderful place today: the south east shore of Oahu. This photo was taken about 11AM with lots of sun overhead and plenty of ocean in front of me. With VERY few people around.

Unlike Waikiki or the North Shore, this area is not considered a hot spot for sunning, snorkeling, or much else. Other than a few guys fishing and some private homes it was way off the “I-want-to-be-there” scale. Right-on. I’m so digging the opposite side of Oahu. On one end Oahu is like New York City – and the other end – it’s more like the Hawai-i that most people know and love.


Real Diamond.

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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).

Aloha.


Waimea Bay

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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).

Aloha.


Mecca. @ Tremont

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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.


Did you say Foothills?

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Another grand and glorious day riding the Foothills – with many more cars than motorcycles today. I hope the traffic subsides soon, I’m tiring of the motorists who insist on shaving the left side of my body with their mirror or other vehicle extensions. Oh – and let’s not forget the wanna-be race car drivers in their “mufflerized” piece-of-crap jap cars — who love to punch the gas when near you to “hear their muffler.” Did you hear the word compensate come up?

Now to the photo. This hog was originally 8900 x 2560 (WHOA) – some photo. It’s four photos stitched together. I’ve exported the photo at 1500 wide to reduce the size of the file from 10mb to a bearable 270k.

The colors are still with us even though the rain helped pluck many leaves this past week. I believe we’ll have about two weeks of color and then we’re talking brown. The best thing about brown – less cars and bikes. Ride on.


Makiki (pronounced: ma’keykey) as in Heights:

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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.


Then again, sofa-test.

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The new panoramic photo-splicer is a charm. With multiple photos Doubletake gives you what a much more expensive camera delivers … panoramic photos. The view in today’s photo is from my den — where there were two distinct light sources offering very different emissions – yet the photo blended very nicely. This was the first attempt at using the software and the shutters are not even. I’ve had better success since then, but I thought of sharing this as an example. If you enjoy digital photos, take two or three and download the ‘FREE’ version. It places a watermark on the photo (at the bottom); when you purchase the software online and then register, the watermark disappears. Try it out


Just Look.

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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.


Luxury Lifestyle. Looks from the Parkway.

Traveling the Parkway yesterday was a little crazy. LOTS of motorcyclists, even more cars, leaf-peepers, dead squirrels (cause they think their invincible), very few clouds and some random turkeys trotting the roadside. Other than that – it was a wonderful day. Evident in my photos, the view is looking like a luxury lifestyle you’d only experience … well … on the Parkway. A mere 11 minutes from home, the Parkway is a must-see for tourists and a must visit for cyclists. (Click the photo below to see the full framed version.)

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Ok then. The first three miles are uphill – a CAT 3 climb. It takes a good cyclist about 13 minutes; the average joe on a Trek, about 22. The Parkway drops then for a gradual descent that is about 1.1 miles and you climb yet again. The second climbing section is again a CAT 3 that is about 2.5 miles and has a false flat. (Click the photo below to see the full framed version.)

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The road turns up again for another 1.7 miles and a brief downhill before you arrive at the summit. It’s a very easy climb – if you’re climbing easy. It can be a leg-full if you drop the chain to – let’s say – fifth gear (cog-17). Then it’s a WORKOUT. With the right legs, a 17 delivers 13.5 minutes on the first section and a sub-40 minute to the actual descent on the other side. Which – bTw – is 8 miles downhill. The roundtrip to the end of the Parkway (at HWY 129) and back is 52 miles from my back door. I’ll blog about it tomorrow after I ride this route – today.


Sandman This.

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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.


Old Glory worthy of salute.

Over the Arizona, floating in Pearl Harbor, Old Glory flies — brilliant — the Stars & Stripes are powerful in red, white and blue. She’s beautiful and full of life. For those that see this particular flag, you cannot help but understand what she represents. It’s a powerful and an inspiring image. So many have died fighting for her – defending her – proving that freedom is worthy of life itself.

I’ve visited the Arizona twice. Both visits yielded the same observations: young people (those less than 25 or 30) walk around and chatter about what they see and hear. Older than 50, the look is somber, the eyes wide open and the mood is very different. The younger group has no real sense of what occurred at Pearl Harbor – even with the video they see. Anyone over 50 years of age and you notice the tears. Imagine this — it’s been more than sixty years since its occurrence, and the site still affects people very deeply. Their sadness is highly evident as they reflect and ponder what occurred December 7, 1941.

Before you exit the land-side exhibit, a movie about Pearl Harbor is shown. The movie is etched in my mind so clearly (and I’m sure thousands of other people) – the images are so vivid, real and believe it or not, very ‘current.’ Touring the “Remembrance Exhibit” reiterates why: 2,335 servicemen and 68 civilians killed, 1,178 wounded. Of those that perished were 1,104 men aboard the Battleship USS Arizona. The men aboard the USS Arizona were killed as a result of a 1,760-pound air bomb that penetrated the ship’s forward magazine.

I respect the flag of the United States of America … Old Glory.
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BTW

The photos you view (good or bad) are mine. Unless I note it (and I will do so when appropriate) Copyrights belong to me. I plan to create a section, at some point, for “other” photos. Hey, if something kewl rolls across my iBook I’ll share it. Or – I may trip back into my archives of shiznet and share the stock images of ‘film’ days.

With that thought in mind – here is post #3 for Wednesday. Most people cannot imagine that I eat candy (DLOL), but I do. The favorite lately are jelly beans. JBs to be certain. The attached is the mecca of beans. Conveniently located atop the counter in my kitchen. Taste one soon at a store near you.

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Clarksville, WHO?

Tennessee, as in Clarksville, Tennessee. Yesterday a friend of mine and I traveled to meet with some folks in the Mayor’s office regarding ‘branding.’ “Let’s put on the map,” the rally cry for the day. Most don’t know it but Clarksville is the fifth largest city in Tennessee and ‘owns’ (stakes claim to) two-thirds of Fort Campbell. In any case, the trip was terrific having plenty of time to rehearse and even more time to catch up on what’s going on and not going on at the office. BLAH. Who-knew.

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My photo of the day is taken directly across from ‘city hall’ which isn’t like the city hall you would imagine. It’s a five story building with lots of glass – and it faces the Cumberland River. More about this adventure later.


Rusted Tractor Pull.

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The depth of rust carries a hew of early 19th century (1807 to be exact) in this photo of the day. Parked near Cookeville, Tennessee we saw this rust-bucket next to a BBQ stand …

… operating out of a defunct SubWay shop! Ha. With good smells nearby (hickory wood and BBQ cooking), it gave me a ‘yesteryear’ experience … just for a moment.

Then I snapped the photo and laughed. Why is this sitting here? The owner of the gas station bought it at an auction 15 years ago with hopes of restoring it. Guess his passion for cooking good BBQ got in the way. As evident in the defunct SubWay shop (remember it’s the number one selling franchise in the world for a reason). “Russ-ted.”


Rain – sometime?

The clouds above look like there’s rain coming but without enough moisture, due to a very weak front, we’re not getting any rain today. Why rain? It’s extremely dry in Blount County. I’m an avid cyclist and love the sunshine – and an absence of rain makes the riding days plentiful.

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The enclosed photo is taken from the Foothills Parkway during a rain storm earlier this summer. One of the RARE days it actually clouded over, thundered and dropped some drops.

It was a single day however. Love the photo.


Sunset Photos over the Country House.

The sunset at the Country House is spectacular this time of year.
It’s due to the low humidity and moderate heat.

The view from the porch is wonderful.

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The second photo is another view from the porch of the Country House. The Bradford Pears are turning and the leaves will likely be more brown than true fall colors, but we’ll see.

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Photo of the Day: Pano of the back lot

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The large pano of the back lot is a reminder to step outside and feel the sunshine. While I’m not in favor of randomly taking photos, it’s a nice feeling to see the world we ‘see’ from the camera view. More of the surroundings as I capture it. .


The view. From the Foothills Parkway. Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

This is a favorite view from the Foothills Parkway, just northeast from Townsend Tennessee. In early fall, the low humidity makes the views seems endless. The wind was blowing in this photo but it certainly gives you the perspective of mountains and more mountains.

As we travel along on our bikes it’s difficult sometimes to stop and soak up the views. More often than not we’re looking at the back wheel of another rider while staying in the draft. Or, we’re so concerned with an average speed – or time limit – that we forget to soak up the views. I soaked up the view in this photo. Enjoy.


the sun rises again.

October morning. A sunrise.

Living at the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains is spectacular. Morning sunrises can be beautiful and the sunsets even more so. Today’s sunrise made me feel as if I were on the Parkway – looking out over the valley toward Mount LeConte. It was captured via my trusty Pentax and an upload to iPhotos.

The clouds emphasize the low humidity and the extreme cold where clouds are formed. I’m amazed at the splendor and all from my backyard. Enjoy. October morning. A sunrise.


When you know David Avery – he’s all about the seconds

Throughout the racing year I seemed to be shooting for second place. Some guy off the front guaranteed the 2-10 placings. When you ask David Avery why he continued to race – the answer usually went something like this: “because I trained so damned much and it’s a shame to waste it worrying about what could have been.”

More racing news from David Avery in the coming calendar year!