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: