Thursday, February 26, 2009

Maui--Monday, February 23, 2009

We woke up again to the sound of tropical birds, while gazing out of our massive picture window that looks out over pastures, to the mountains of West Maui and the beaches on both sides of the isthmus.

While enjoying coffee, breakfast, and a great music CD that we found in the CD player, Jean noticed a giant mushroom cloud ascending from the valley below. Hmmmm…. We didn’t hear any explosions, and there were no sirens in the background, so we just sat and watched. Shortly thereafter, there was a second but larger mushroom cloud. We later found out that this is part of the local’s way of burning off cane fields.

Once we were fairly certain that a nuclear war hadn’t commenced, we loaded the bikes up and headed for West Maui for some road riding. Along the way, we stopped at a scenic overlook to watch humpback whales frolic. Yeah, that was kind of cool.

We found a great grocery store with fresh sandwiches and soups for lunch, and while I was in negotiating an exchange, a local tried some pick-up lines on Jean. She replied with the “my husband will be right back…,” which apparently stumped the would-be Casanova.

Anyway, after lunch, we made our way to West Maui Bike for a little info, some air, and a “Y” tool (which I should have packed). Finally, it was time to ride.

My Maui County Bike Map recommended Rt 30—and even the local at the shop said it was an epic ride—especially when done in its entirety (about 60 miles with 4,000ft of climbing). Our plan was for about 20 miles, just to get the legs moving. Well, it was 20 miles of head winds (How does it always work out that way?). There was a good shoulder to ride on, but it was almost like riding in the breakdown lane on a highway. Cars were flying by.

We rode past all of the huge resorts that most people associate with Maui and I’m so glad we didn’t stay there. I love the cottage we stayed in. The Kapalua resort, which ironically triggered the idea behind this trip because of a full page article in Men’s Journal that extolling the thousands of acres for mountain biking (doesn’t really exist), was a super-swank resort with a Ritz-Carlton. I was so close to booking our stay there, but the thought of hanging out in a resort with people whose idea of adventure is playing the back nine without a golf cart really skeeved me out. I used the Kapalua resort as our turn-around point, and after checking out the “Adventure Shop” we made our way back to Lahaina by a slightly different route.

The way back was much less crowded and made for an enjoyable ride. Once back in Lahaina, I even found a wallet with $42 in cash in it. It also had some identification so I brought it all (cash included) to the local police station. It appears the owner was traveling from Switzerland, so I hope she gets it back.

As our schedule often revolves around our bellies (and how empty they feel), it was time to think about dinner. We actually made our way back to Kapalua to the Sansei Seafood Restaurant and Sushi Bar for some of the best sushi we’ve ever had. Mmmmm… mmmm….mmm.

Maui--Sunday. February 22, 2009

Yeah, we were up at about 4:30am. Our bodies had no idea what time it was… I took a walk out to the deck and it was like I was immersed in a relaxation CD. There were tropical birds chirping while a gentle wind blew through the trees and wind chimes softly rung off in the distance. Simply amazing. We woke up to this audio sound track every day.

We lounged about for a bit, and then it was time to build the bikes and plan our day. As for the first trip with the travel bikes, I have to say, the whole disassembly and assembly process is pretty quick and easy. I’ll make a few changes for next trip (for example, I spent WAY too much time trying to untangle the chains—next time, I’ll just take ‘em off).

After getting a little lost, we made our way down some winding narrow roads to Paia. A group of “ride down the mountain cyclists” passed us… Oy. If there was ever an activity I wanted no part in, it’s that. I got my official Hawaiian shirt in Paia, and had a great lunch at the fish market. We supported the local economy with some shopping, then it was time to point the Torrent back up the mountain to the top of Mount Haleakala.

Interestingly, you can go from sea level to the top of the mountain, which is just over 10,000ft, in about 40 miles—making it one of the only places in the world that you can go so high so quickly. I would have loved to attempted this on the bike, but I fear I know how it would have ended, and no one would want to see an out of shape mainlander crying on the side of the road begging to the volcano gods for forgiveness.

The drive was pretty epic as it was, passing through the “mountain lea” a band of clouds that obscures the peak of the mountain from view below. At the top of the volcano, a wide landscape that seems more Martian than Earthly opens up before you, with cinder cones, volcanic rock, and lingering clouds interspersed with the ancient geologic formations. We hiked out on the sliding sands trail to one of the cinder cones… the trail was incredible with expansive vistas, eerie quiet, random bits of tenacious life and two random hippies from California, one who spent lots of time trying to tie the bottoms of her shorts up. The view from the very top was incredible—looking down on the clouds is something that I’ve previously only done from a small airplane window.

Finally, it was time to retrace our steps and make our way back down the narrow, winding mountain road to our perfect cottage.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Maui--Saturday, February 21, 2009

I don’t remember any trips that I’ve taken that didn’t involve late night packing and EARLY morning alarms. This trip was no different, despite the fact that I was about 90% packed by Friday night. It’s always the little last-minute things... Anyway, Jean and I were up at 3:30am on Saturday and off to the airport by about 4:15. We had dropped the dogs off on Friday, so our morning was without the usually dog-chaos.

I’ve only been to Logan Airport about one hundred times, but sure enough, I missed the turn. Duh. I guess three hours of sleep will do that to you. We still made it to the parking lot in time, grabbed our shuttle, and checked in at Logan. Our bike cases weighed in at 49lbs and 50lbs—talk about no margin for error. I think I’ll put the cranks or something in my other bag just to give me an extra pound or so leeway. Anyway, the boxes were unceremoniously tossed on the conveyor belt and we were on our way to our gate. Our three-hour flight to Chicago was pretty uneventful, which is really what you want a flight to be.

Once in Chicago, we had some time to kill because our outgoing flight was delayed because of snow. I hate snow. In any event, the delay wasn’t long and soon enough we were packed in the back—and I do mean in the BACK of the plane for the long flight to Maui. We were in row 200 or something like that—the last row in the plane—an area usually reserved for families traveling with loud colicky children.

We had packed plenty of things to keep us occupied on the flight, and to be honest, the 9+ hour journey wasn’t that bad. I did have an annoying issue with my iPod though (user error). I planned ahead and downloaded the next audio book in the series that I’m listening to, however, I failed to realize that I was actually missing the last chapter in the current book. AND, I forgot to upload the movies I had converted for iPod use as well… double duh. I had more than enough journal articles and other stuff to read. Jean snoozed.

Our flight landed, and we made our way to the luggage carousel to find our beaten bike boxes… hmmmm… I was actually concerned that our bikes were damaged (they weren’t). We tossed everything into our Pontiac Torrent and made our way to a grocery store to get supplies. HOLY CRAP food is expensive on the island: three dollars for a gallon of spring water, six dollars for a half-gallon of soy milk, four dollars for a can of soup, seven dollars for a box of Grape Nuts, and on and on and on…

Anyway, stocked up and nearly broke, we pointed our Torrent up towards Haleakala to our accommodations. The road up to our cottage was steep, winding and narrow—a common theme of road design on Maui. We met a guy that looked just like Cesar Milan (but without a pack of dogs) who first saw us driving about with some confusion and tried to direct us into to a driveway to a home that was having a party—we love parties, but we were looking for our cottage. He then directed us into a different driveway, but that was the wrong house too… we finally found the correct driveway—a narrow, steep grade down in to… paradise.

Our cottage was exactly as seen on the Web site—but better. Quaint, cozy, romantic, clean—perfect. I was blown away by the night sky, with its thousands of stars, unaffected by light pollution, and I could have spent hours staring up—if it hadn’t been for the fact that we had been up for almost 24hrs and had flown halfway around the world (almost). We crashed asleep.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Coming Soon...

Yeah, I've been lax when it comes to posts recently... why? Well, because not a whole lot has been shaking... but, I WILL have some stories to post soon. Stay tuned!

Sunday, February 15, 2009


It's coming... Spring is coming.... dry trails, windbreakers, shorts, longer days... I can't wait...

I'm sick of riding the rollers.
I'm sick of "bundling up."
I'm sick of ice/snow.
I'm sick of "wind chill factors."
I'm sick of running on the road.

Spring is coming...

Hmmm... that almost sounded poetic, huh? Or, perhaps, pathetic. Anyway, I'm really itching to get out on the trails for some long rides and runs. Pics like this one remind me that I didn't spend NEARLY enough time up at Kingdom Trails... Closer to home, I'm looking forward to Willowdale, Bradley Palmer, Harold Parker, Lynn Woods, and doing some more exploring on the Bay Circuit Trail. I *guess* I'm looking forward to getting out on the road bike too, but not at much as I'm looking forward to some good dirt time. Besides, the roads I've seen are trashed, and with municipal budgets being what they are, it will probably be years before we see any patching or paving. Okay, I just had to vent.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

iShuffle Playlist...

Name Artist

1000 Points Of Hate
Wth>You (Chairman Hahn ft. Aceyalone) Linkin Park
With You Linkin Park
Wild Side Motley Crue
Welcome to the Jungle Guns N Roses
Voices Disturbed
Vietnow Rage Against The Machine
The Trooper Iron Maiden
Track 02 Guttermouth
Track 01 Guttermouth
The Threat Skid Row
Testify Rage Against The Machine
Symphony of Destruction Megadeth
Survival of the Sickest Saliva
Sleep Now In The Fire Rage Against The Machine
Slave To The Grind Skid Row
Sin Nine Inch Nails
Shout at the Devil Motley Crue
Seen Through Time Cellador
Runaway Linkin Park
Run To The Hills Iron Maiden
Room For One More Anthrax
Remember the Name Fort Minor featuring Styles of Beyond
Rainbow In The Dark Dio
Pts.Of.Athrty (Jay Gordon) Linkin Park
Potter's Field Anthrax
Points Of Authority/99Problems/One Step Closer Jay - Z / Linkin Park
Points Of Authority Linkin Park
Place For My Head Linkin Park
People Of The Sun Rage Against The Machine
Papercut Linkin Park
Painkiller Judas Priest
Out of Control Hoobastank
The Only Time Nine Inch Nails
One Step Closer Linkin Park
The Number of the Beast Iron Maiden
Numb/Encore Jay - Z / Linkin Park
Nothing Stabbing Westward
Nobody's Listening Linkin Park
Nighttrain Guns N Roses
Miracle Man Ozzy Osbourne
Lying From You Linkin Park
LIVE-For Those About to ROCK AC/DC
Like The Way I Do Melissa Etheridge
Last Resort Papa Roach
Kinda I Want To Nine Inch Nails
Kickstart_My_Heart Motely Crew
Jigga What/Faint Jay - Z / Linkin Park
Jealous Again Nick Oliveri
Invisible Anthrax
In The End Linkin Park
In My World Anthrax
I Am The Bullgod Kid Rock
Hy Pro Glo Anthrax
Hit The Floor Linkin Park
Head Like A Hole Nine Inch Nails
Guerilla Radio Rage Against The Machine
Got The Time Anthrax
Given Up Linkin Park
Give Me All Your Love Tonight Whitesnake
Gimmie Gimmie Gimmie Dean Ween
Get The Fuck Out Skid Row
The Game Disturbed
Forgotten Linkin Park
Fist of Rage Kid Rock
Figure.09 Linkin Park
Fight Fire With Fire Metallica
Faint Linkin Park
F*****g Hostile Pantera
Enemy Sevendust
Empire Queensryche
Down With the Sickness Disturbed
Down In It Nine Inch Nails
Dirt Off Your Shoulder/Lying From You Jay - Z / Linkin Park
Die MF Die Dope
Devil Without a Cause Kid Rock
The Devil Went Down to Georgia Point blAnk
The Devil Went Down to Georgia Charlie Daniels
Depression Casey Chaos
Defy You The Offspring
Crazy Train Ozzy Osbourne
Crawling Linkin Park
Crash Methods Of Mayhem
Cowboys from Hell Pantera
Control Stabbing Westward
click click boom Saliva
Children of the Grave Black Sabbath
C11 H17 N2 O2 S Na Anthrax
By_Myslf (Josh Abraham & Mike Shinoda) Linkin Park
By Myself Linkin Park
Bulls On Parade Rage Against The Machine
Boom P.O.D
Bleed It Out Linkin Park
Black Coffee Henry Rollins
Big Pimpin/Papercut Jay - Z / Linkin Park
The Beautiful People Marilyn Manson
Bawitdaba Kid Rock
Anarchy in the UK Motley Crue
Ain't My Bitch Metallica

Sunday, February 1, 2009

I still hate winter.

Well, after my abysmal XC ski adventure the other day, I figured I'd return to something a bit more in line with my abilities--running...

Sure, it was completely dark out after work, and sure the roads and sidewalks were covered in ice and snow... but the dogs and I needed exercise, so out we went. I really HATE people who don't shovel the sidewalks in front of their homes. I think *perhaps* people on low-traffic side streets could be forgiven (as it's not too dangerous to walk in the street), but people on high-traffic roads should have the courtesy to clean up in front of their houses so pedestrians aren't forced out in the narrow, icy streets.

Of course, the downside is that PLENTY of shoveled sidewalks were like ice luges... My special winter running shoes helped keep me upright, but it was a struggle. I can't wait to run on trails again...