Eating my way through Spokane
=== The jokes starts, "So I was in Spokane the other day..." Actually as far as I know there is no joke that starts that way, but I was in Spokane the other day.
I'd been in Spokane at least once when I was much younger. My maternal Granddad had a place in Western Monta…
Walking Around the Block at Work
We have a thing at work we're trying out called "Active Wear Wednesday." We've been trying to encourage folks to be more active and the power that be have said that for now we can wear Active Wear rather than office clothes on Wednesday if we actually take advantage of the opportunity to be more active. Here's my little contribution to the effort!
Hiking by the Light of the Moon
That's not me in the image, much too young and skinny. No, it's my friend Erik who suggested that we hike Haleakala under some serious moonlight. It was time once again this past weekend for a full moon and one of Erik's favorite things to do is hike the crater in that special light.
Now let's be clear on this, I'm not much of a hiker. It's been years since I've hiked and I've certainly had my reasons. Most recently my hip would not allow me to hike. After I had that replaced in 2014 and lost over 100 lbs. I had fewer excuses, but frankly, I was a little leery of taking it up.
In the past I've also had a number of arthroscopies, three on my right knee, one on my left. Both knees suffer a bit from osteoarthritis so I tend to avoid walking in situations I don't have an alternate mode of transportation available. That isn't to say I don't walk. I do, indeed I try for a couple of miles a day whenever possible, but I like to know I can hop a bus, hail a cab, or ride my bike should it become a problem.
Well that fear has been conquered. And in extreme conditions to boot.
After a long day involved in meetings for a non-profit I volunteer with which were held in Lahaina, I drove a four of my buds up the slopes of Haleakala to meet up with another group coming from a different direction. In all there would be ten of us.
I'm not in that image either. I did take the photo though, with the last bit of light my camera would be able to pick up without a flash for the rest of the evening. I should have taken a better camera for low light work, but live and learn.
It's sunset and we are up at the very top of Haleakala around 10,000 feet up and it's...cold. The wind is blowing and the sun is going down and I'm really grateful I actually had the right sort of clothes to wear. Layer, layer, layer.
After the sunset we head off and down the inside of the crater. There isn't really much to say. That's not because there isn't much there, but because it's so awe inspiring that anything I could say wouldn't come near to describing how captivating, how mystical, and simply how stark, raving, beautiful this place is.
My legs worked find and I was very lucky that a friend was able to lend me his trekking poles. I'm not sure I could have done this hike without them. That's not because the hike is so hard, it's not, but because with my legs I need all the help I can get. They helped. I'm getting a pair for myself.
And it turned out that I wasn't the slowest member of the I group, at least not on the way down, nor was I the fastest. In fact for some time it seemed I was hiking alone. I knew that I wasn't far behind the lead group, nor far ahead of the trailing group, but there I was...alone under the starts. Wow.
My camera wasn't really up to the task of lowlight photography as I've said, but we did pass through a "garden" of Silverswords, a plant found nowhere else. I used my flash.
We joined up again off and on over the route and hiked as far as the start of the crater floor near a hitching post for the horses that make the tour. We ate and drank our fill, rested a bit looking at the sky, and began the hike back up.
It took two hours or so to get down to 7500 feet or so where we stopped; it took three hours in reverse.
The hike back was tough on me. I had plenty of energy and my legs were fine. The problem wasn't my stamina or physical fitness...it was the altitude. We were pretty high up, above that evenings cloud layer for sure and my body decided that one the way up it needed more oxygen. My heart would start racing and I'd have to take break to calm it back down. Luckily I know the signs from all the cycling I do so I wasn't in any danger, but it was a bit disheartening to have to stop every 500 yards. Still it wasn't a bad hike back till the last quarter mile. Then it was...um...well let's just say it wasn't the best part of the trip.
Still I made it, in no small part because of the encouragement of two of the younger folks who hung back with me that last bit. One of them confided that last time she'd done this she was the tail end Charlie. No shame there...hell, I'm proud I did the hike.
And then it was over. Sigh.
I was asked if that was it for me and I said,"I'll say the same thing after the first time I biked across Iowa. Never again." This summer will make my third time across Iowa.
That's my story, I'm sticking to it!
Sunrise at Makua Valley and More!
President's Day afforded me a day off of work with no other obligations and I took full advantage of the opportunity. It'd been a while since I'd ridden on the West Side of Oahu and this seemed like a great opportunity.
Last time I did this my friend Erich was in town and we had a great time, though as I recall I did have a flat in Kapolei. We rode, saw the sites, got some pictures, ate a bit, and pretty much filled up the day.
This time I was going solo but the route remained the same. Indeed there's really only one road so...
I boarded the County C bus around 5:20 AM, tied my bike in to the bike rack - this is very important; I've had trouble in the past with damages. Off we went.
At this time of year it stay's dark fairly late into the morning. By late I mean almost 7 AM. That's about the time we got Makaha Beach Park, the last stop for the County C. Truly there's not much more past it in terms of major habitation, mostly the controversial Makua Valley Army Base. I won't get into why, let's just say live ordinance and native species and religious sites don't mix.
It's a beautiful place though.
I rode out the end of the road, the paved road that is. You can ride around Kaena Point, or at least mostly with just a bit of portage. That wasn't the plan though. I was headed home the short way, 50 miles short, but shorter than around the point. Good thing too as I'll explain.
Here I am out near the end of the road. I've been told not to hurry to the end of my road, so I stopped short, for now at least.
Then I headed back to town.
As I've lost weight and adjusted my diet I've found a number of interesting changes to my ability. First and foremost, this is all a lot easier. At my heaviest I was about 305 lbs. Today I'm somewhere between 185 and 190, depending. You can imagine how much easier I am to haul around.
The other change I've noticed is that now that I'm on a very low carb diet I don't get hungry or "bonk" on rides, at least not up to 50 miles or so. Actually longer is fine too, but I do get hungry.
On this ride I pretty much went non-stop for 50 miles without having had anything to eat in the morning. I even skipped my morning coffee. I was on a bus for over an hour, riding for 4+ hours, and only hydrated.
The ride was a little slower than I might have managed on another day as I was pretty much headed into the wind the entire way. It wasn't super strong all the time, but it was noticeable. I was also a little nervous because the bike path median along Farrington Hwy. is pretty much gone in most places and, being honest here, on the West Side folks pass a little closer than they do on the Windward side and North Shore. Don't know why and it's totally anecdotal, but that's my experience. Keep in mind I didn't get hit or even have a close call so it was fine, it just kept me a little more on edge than I prefer.
Overall the ride was great. I did think about stopping for coffee, but just kept at it and, before noon I was home. Sweet!
Now about that, 'lucky I did' bit. Once again I seem to have worn out my bottom just a bit. I think it may be the saddle I'm using so I'm going to see about riding 50 miles in a couple of weeks on a somewhat more forgiven saddle. This doesn't bode well for Iowa and Wisconsin, and frankly when my bottom was bigger I never had this trouble. Now, without so much padding, hmmm...
Well there you go.