Friday, December 25, 2015

Tomato-ville Triathon

Our niece Abby organized a fun race on Halloween called the Tomato-ville Triathlon, in Jacksonville TX.  It has been a really long time since we've done a triathlon (well, at least the swimming part).  We didn't have our bikes with us.  And then there was a bunch of rain around that time.  So it was quite an organizational challenge for Abby.

But she pulled it off!  Several adjustments were made, the location was set, we scheduled it for a good weather window, and we even had Jenny and Jerry there as support crew.

Checking out the start of the trails where we would be biking and running:

Abby and Loren flew through the swimming portion.  The rest of us survived.  Here's Lindy, possibly at the part where she's happy to be done:

John making his way across the pool, go John!

From there Loren and Abby picked up bikes to do some cycling miles.  The rest of us started on foot and took turns on the bikes as they were available.  An excellent way to adjust for the fact that we were lacking a key piece of equipment.  It was basically "choose your own adventure" as long as everyone did some amount of biking and running.  Neat!

Abby enjoying the bike ride:

I was happy to be back doing something I'm used to:

Lindy and Brett also looking pleased to be out of the pool:

Loren making another lap:

John trying to catch Abby on the uphill:

Finishing up back at the rec center:

Loren and Abby at the finish:

Lindy and Brett opted for the indoor cycles to complete their biking leg:

Best finishing medals ever!  I propose all races use chocolate chip cookies on a string as finisher awards.  I liked it so much, mine was gone before Jerry could get a picture (John managed to keep his long enough to play around with it):

With Jerri Lind, gear manager and keeper of the finisher medals:

Selfie with Jerry, one of our support crew (and Jenny barely visible in the background):

Fuzzy group photo on the exercise machines:

Thank you Abby, that was great fun!!

Friday, December 11, 2015

Maui for a week, part 2

John was busy working, so I continued to explore Maui.  Tough job, but someone in the family had to do it  :)

My next assignment was to check out the road to Hana.  I didn't get all the way around the eastern loop, nor even to the town of Hana.  The curvy, busy road eventually wore me down and I had accomplished my goal of seeing a few waterfalls.  Another time, hopefully.

Ho'okipa Lookout is a great spot for watching the surf and the surfers.  Next time, binoculars are in order.  There's a tiny dot on the right end of the long white wave... probably a surfer:

Bamboo, excellent maze-building material:

Green lushness crowding the road.

Love the variety of the plants, these possibly planning on engulfing our rental car if I leave it too long:

Can't even begin to guess what these tall green things are:

Jungle offering:

There's a waterfall!  And quite a lovely pool:

Lower Puohokamoa Falls - big name for a big waterfall:

Little trails snaking through the plants, trying not to get myself too muddy through here:

Nice rewards:

My turnaround spot, a lovely look at the north coast of the island:

One final day of playing around, I started with a run (actually, more of a hike) on the Lahaina Pali Ridge trail.  "Pali" means cliff, although this trail isn't all that cliffy.  Mostly through volcanic grassland:

The best part was the expansive view to the south, including a closeup of the giant wind turbines:

Hawai'i is doing well on the renewable energy initiative.  In the background is the uninhabited island of Kaho'olawe:

I believe that is the island of Lanai on the horizon as the trail comes back down toward the highway:

After an excellent lunch at Aloha Mixed Plate in Lahaina, I continued around the west coast to find the Dragon's Teeth.  These are interesting rock formations that I couldn't figure out exactly how to capture on camera:

One of my favorite island pastimes, watching surf crash onto rocks:

I couldn't resist taping and posting surf videos:

A bit further along I found this lovely set of calm pools, with surf crashing just outside.  Very cool:

Seen a little better in a video:

More wave action (and possibly Moloka'i across the water):

Big waves slid along the rocks on the other side of the bay, leaving little waterfalls in their wake:

I did a little hike to find the Nakalele Blowhole, checking out some interesting rock erosion on the way:

Live Happy:

Nakalele Blowhole, just finishing an "eruption" and creating a lovely rainbow in the mist:

Timing the camera shot proved a bit of a challenge:

Easier to capture the whole thing on video:

Heart-shaped hole with surf behind it:

Flashbacks to Utah rock formations...

Finishing the drive around the west side, the last few miles were entertaining.  Single lane in parts, lots of curves.  At least this road was much quieter than the road to Hana.

As I was getting back toward civilization (and the road was opening up more), this sign made me laugh.  Like, duh.

John did get a chance to see some of the island, including a run on beautiful Big Beach:

Thank you Maui, for a fun and interesting week!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Maui for a week, part 1

A week in Maui!  We're looking at a possible job there for John, so we went to give it a "look-see" tryout.  Happily I was able to go along to explore the area while John was working.  Without knowing for sure if we'll be back soon, I tried to make the most of it.

First impression - sure is pretty!

First trail run, up Waihe'e Ridge Trail.  Nice variety here, starting with a road through a field:

A little mud, a few small trees:

Quickly into a forest of larger trees, lots of roots and more mud.  Each section wasn't long, just working through different terrain.

It opened into a great view of waterfalls across the way:

The lush Waihe'e River valley, capped by the almost-perpetual cloud covering the West Maui Mountains:

More fun tree shapes:

Views over to Kahului, the ocean, and Haleakala mountain:

Helicopters probably on a tour route (I saw several heading the same direction) - I'm still happy we chose the Grand Canyon as THE helicopter tour for us.  I'm sure Maui is pretty from the sky too:

Now for the big one, up to the top of Haleakala.  The top of Maui is over 10,000 feet high and you can drive to the summit.  Very cool.  A little chilly, actually, but I warmed up fast in the sunshine.

Neat looking down at the clouds that tend to hang around the 6,000 foot mark, trying to get into the crater area but usually swirling just off to the side:

Nice 3-D map at the visitor center:

Silversword, an endangered plant that seems to do well in this harsh environment:

A chukar running around parking lot, friendly enough but constantly moving and possibly camera shy:

Starting down the Shifting Sands trail for a day in the volcanic dirt, looks like fun!

Pretty quickly I realized I'd found a desert environment on the island of Maui, which makes me happy!  I might be a desert rat at heart.  How that happened after growing up in Vermont is a mystery.

Amazing flower finding a way to grow here:

I ran over to check out one of the 3 cabins that people rent to stay the night.  That would be something, what a neat location for camping:

One of the many cones inside the crater:

Parts of the trail were slower than others, like this section through a lava flow:

Oh cool, a view of the Big Island!  Across the clouds, Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa are visible on the horizon.  Awesome.

More fun trails through the lava.  I totally enjoyed this whole day.

Pahoehoe!  I just like saying that.

The far cabin, with an amazing backdrop of green cliffs.  Here is where I scared up a couple nene's (Hawaiian geese) but they took off so fast that I didn't get a picture.

Geology rocks.  I never get tired of saying that, hope you don't mind.

Just love the trails winding through the open cinder:

Wouldn't want to fall into the pit of Kawilinau:

Almost done, just one big climb back up to the car...

Telescopes at the top, including one under construction:

What John was working on while I was off exploring - nice!  Good thing one of us knows how to be useful: