Sunday, December 28, 2008

Family Pics

Today we went to the beach to try out the new Camera. Here are some of the pics but in much lower resolution than the originals.

Today we went to the beach to try out the new Camera. Here are some of the pics but in much lower resolution than the originals.

Mtn Bike on the Windward Side

Friday Morning Heather and I got up early and headed to the east side of the island to go mtn biking with John, Jon, Jim, and Cory. We arrived about 10 minutes late and Heather had a mechanical right from the start. The Windward side of the island gets alot more rain than the Leaward side and the trails were pretty muddy. We started out on a pretty sketchy trail with some steep descents. After about 10 minutes we decided to cut our losses and head back to the Maunawillie Ditch trail. This trail is mostly double track that twists back and forth. When it is dry, you can really hammer but this day that wasn't the case. I started out trying to take pictures of Heather riding ahead of me. After a couple of near slips, I put the camera away to keep both hands on the bars. The trail is an out and back and on the way back, Heather and I fell back from the rest of the riders. We decided to turn right at the end of the trail and check out the views from above. Jon caught up with us and told us the rest of the riders were waiting at the car. I called John and let him know we were going to check out the top trail. He was going to join us after he fixed his tire. However, Jim ran into some bad luck and ripped the derailler off his bike. John gave him a ride back to Bellows. Jon L. had also had a flat. After he changed it, we kept riding up until we came to the trail head for the Maunawillie Demonstration trail. This trail had some sweet single track that ran along the ridge. We rode it quite a ways then turned around for a nice descent. When we were done, we were covered in mud. Heather and I took the long way home and stopped at Momentum where she test rode a nice bike which may make a good graduation present.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

A very picture centered Christmas

This year Chris and I had kind of a unintentional themed Christmas. The Theme was pictures. I got her a Kodak Photo Printer and she got me a Panasonic Digital Camera. We also used some money and bought a new Pentax DSLR camera. One might wonder why we needed so many new camera's. The SLR takes outstanding pictures but it can be difficult to take on the bike or hiking. Our older digital camera was starting to show the effects of many rough rides on the bike and drops to the floor. Stephanie got a PS2 from Santa, Heather some new running shoes and a pair of Oakley's and Courtney an IPOD Nano and Ginger got a new chew toy. There were alos alot of other things for each of us under the tree.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

TheEnd of a 10 yr Drought and the Steeles Were There

I have always been a Notre Dame Fan. I remember as a young boy watching the games with my Dad who is also a lifelong Irish Fan. I passed the love of Notre Dame down to my children. When Courtney was less than 2 she used to cheer "Go Notre Dame, Go Notre Dame" while we watched the games. This year we were thrilled to find out they were coming to Hawaii for the Sheritan Hawaii Bowl. Last year we were able to recieve free tickets to the game but this year the free tickets were gone in less than an hour and I had to pony up $200.00 for us to go. We arrived at the stadium a couple hours early prepared to do some tail gating. We ate our wraps, chips and had a few cold ones before making our way to the stadium. We were the only people with Notre Dame shirts on but all the Hawaii Fans were very friendly.

We headed to our seats around 230 stopping to pick up a couple of shirts for the girls. The tickets I ordered where supposed to be the best available but we were one row from the top of the stadium and there were a lot of open seats below us. It didn't bother me as it gave me an opportunity to try out the new digital SLR camera we bought with some Christmas Money from my Parents.I haven't figured out all the settings yet but i did manage to get some pretty good shots. I used the 300 mm lens from our film SLR and was able to get some great close ups of the players on the field. I did find out however that 10 MP pics are huge and take forever to download so I think i will keep it on a lower setting from now on. The game was pretty anti-climatic as Notre Dame managed to beat Hawaii pretty handily. It still was a great game and I am glad we got to watch it as a family. What a way to start off Christmas Eve. Tonight we are going to Midnight Mass as we always do. Courtney is Serving and Steph is ushering so it will just be Chris, Heather and I in the pews.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Biking, Surfing and Golf with Heather

It is always nice to have Heather back for a visit as she is willing to do stuff with her Dad that the other girls don't always enjoy doing. This weekend I took full advantage of her being home. We started off Friday night with a round of golf at the lighted Par 3 Course on Hickam.
Our round started off kind of slow with both of us getting our money's worth as far as the number of strokes we were taking. I couldn't put to save my life and Heather was having trouble getting any distance off the tee. Heather's luck changed on the 7th and 8th hole where she par 'd both holes. I finished up with my only Par on the 9th hole. Chris walked along with us keeping score and making sure that every stroke was counted. I am not sure what we would have done with out her there :) Well, we probably would have taken a few more mulligans.

Heather has been wanting to try surfing since we moved to Hawaii and I finally agreed to take her. One of my co-workers told me about taking her boys to White Plains beach near Barber's Point. This is a navy beach that rents surf boards. Most people take a lesson before they attempt to surf or at least get some advise from an experienced surfer, but Heather and I decided to see if we could teach ourselves. We weren't very successful. I did learn why surfers wear shirts as I managed to make my chest look and feel like someone drug me across an artificial turf football field on my chest. I also managed to tear up my feet on some coral. I also learned that surfing takes patience, balance and skill none of which are my strong suits. It still was alot of fun and I am sure I will try it again. Heather and I also spent some time playing catch with a football. After surfing, we hurried home so we could get ready to go on the annual Honolulu Lights Bike Ride.

We met with several cyclist from clubs all around Oahu at the Bike Shop on King Street. Several of riders were really dressed for the season including HACC DADDY, John Girmsey, who dressed as St. Nick. We also had elves, Rudolf and a variety of other's dressed with lights, trees and bells on their Bikes. I did manage to put some battery operated lights on my bike but didn't have time to do anything else because we got back late from the Beach. We still had a great time. Chris and the rest of the family met us at Ward Center for Starbucks then we drove down past the lights so they could see them.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Fall and Winter in 10 days

A week ago Friday I left the land of endless Summer and headed to the land of the rising sun to do an IG inspection on Misawa AB in Northern Japan. This was my second trip to Japan but my first to Misawa. Misawa sits in the northern Japan. It is an area known for its harsh snowfalls. We flew on a military tanker which was nice because 1. ) I had never flown MilAir before and 2) we were able to fly direct saving about 5 hours in transit time. We left on a Friday but crossed the international date line so we arrived about 1 pm Saturday. It was a beautiful fall day. The temps were in the 60's and there were still some colorful leaves on the trees. The fall weather lasted until the middle of the week when winter hit. It snowed Wednesday - Saturday. Luckily it was still pretty warm so the snow didn't accumulate as much as it could have. I guess I missed some pretty rainy weather on Oahu, which was nice since the 12 hr mtn bike race was postponed so hopefully I will get to do the race later.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Riding the Leeward Coast

This Saturday, the HACC broke with tradition and rode the leeward coast from Kapolea to the end of the pavement on the Farrington HWY. This is the area of Oahu that most tourist and many residents never see. The area has reputation as being the depressed area of the island with high crime and rough characters. It lacks the greenery of the Windward side due to a more arid climate. However, if you overlook the clutter, it has a distinct beauty similar to the South West in the continental US.

We met at Kapolea at 0630 and mounted up. I got my stuff together and noticed that my tires needed some air. I had my pump so I pulled my keys out of the plastic case that I placed my cell phone, ID and credit card. I pumped up the tire and locked up the jeep. About 3 miles into the ride, I felt my pockets and realised the case wasn't there. I thought about riding back but knew I wouldn't beable to catch up and didn't really want to ride that area alone. I told myself that surely I set it in the jeep before I locked it up and it would be there when I returned. I kept it in the back of my mind but didn't want to dwell on it being lost so I could enjoy the ride.

We hoped off Farrington and road up one of the canyons to some Navy property. The area was desolate and very different from the Waikiki area that people think of when they think of Hawaii. We road through a housing area where most of the people lived in military tin quansant huts. We also road past many of the beach dwellings scattered along the beaches.
We climbed on Canyon road up to some public hunting land. Bryant and I decided to give the steep paved road a try to see how far it would take us. We climbed until we hit a great spot for a picture.
We plan on going back sometime with mtn bikes and exploring the trails in that area. After we reached the turnaround and headed back, we saw a school of dolphins swimming about 100 yrds off shore. Unfortunately they were out of photo range but still very cool to watch. We reached Waianea in time to ride along with there Veterans Day parade. With our Red, White, and Blue kits we fit right in.

I skipped the detour through Koalina so I could get back and hopefully find my missing case with phone, ID and credit card. When I got back to the Jeep, I found it setting on the roof where I must have set it when I opened my hatch to grab the pump. Luckily I put the stuff in the case as if it had been my wallet, I don't think it would have stayed there for 4 hrs. Finding my stuff where I left it capped off a great ride. For more photos, check out:

Monday, October 13, 2008

Busy weekend and the Beer Ride

This weekend was a three day weekend. I started Saturday with a ride up on the northshore. I got going a little late and arrived just as the group of one was taking off. Apparently I wasn't the only one who was having a hard time getting started 6 other riders showed up after me. We took a shorter route hitting Kole Kole and Dillingham Airfield before heading up Pineapple. The group split into two groups between Dillingham and Pineapple hill. I was in the second group and John was in the first. I was determined to try to catch him on the climb or at least keep him in sight. I thought I could see him a ways up the hill so I kept the Hammer down. After a while I lost sight of what I thought was him and figured he just too wide of a gap. I expected to see him coming down the hill but I made it up to the bus stop with out seeing John. I turned around a rode down to join some of the riders coming up. I saw John making his way up. Apparently he went around the circle instead of starting when he got to the hill so we could ride up together but it took longer to get around the circle than it he thought it would so he started behind me.

After I got home, my ankle was bothering me so I kept icing it and wrapping it, hoping it would feel better before Monday. It has been bothering me for a couple of weeks but not enough to stay off of it. It felt better Sunday except for a couple of times when I step on it wrong while washing cars at the Knights of Columbus Car wash. It felt much better Monday and didn't bother me at all during the ride.

Courtney had a very busy Saturday. She spent 11 hrs at the school practicing for her marching band then went to an all night lockin with the youth group at school. I think she had fun at both activities but she was very worn out.

Chris and I checked out the new Whole Foods in Honolulu. It was much smaller than the one in Omaha but what it lacked in size it made up for in High Prices. Milk was $10.00 a gallon. We did find a couple of items that were pretty decently priced. They had their store brand whole wheat pasta which was very good and only ran $2.00 and their red peppers were less than the commissary. Other than those items, I don't think we will be doing much shopping there.

Monday morning was the HACC annual Yard House ride. Yard House is a restaurant in Honolulu that has over 100 beers on tap. We met at the Gym and rode down Nimitz. We weaved through Honolulu to ride up Tantlus. I hadn't ridden up tantlus since I did the time trial back in April. I decided to see if I could beat my TT time. I was very pleased to ride a 24:56 which was over a minute faster than my TT time. We headed down Round Top which had recently had the top 1/4 refinished making for a very smooth decent. We stopped half way at the lookout for some pictures. Check out Jeff Adkins pics for some great views of the rain falling on the city: or Jon Laurions: . Chris and Courtney met us a the Yard House and we enjoyed a great meal with the group.