Hana Highway

Not too long ago I went to my very first bachelor party. While there, and after hearing I was planning a trip to Hawaii, I was immediately told “you must ride the Hana Highway“.

If you are too lazy to click the link you might be asking yourself, what is the Hana Highway? It’s basically an extremely scenic highway that runs along the north/northeast of Maui, leading to the town of, you guessed it, Hana. So we flew to Maui with just our backpacks, rented some nice road bikes, and rode the 50-or-so miles to Hana. Although we had an excellent time hanging in Hana after our arrival, me sitting on the beach drinking rum makes for an even worse video than the ride there and back. So without further stalling, here is the Road to Hana.

 

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Mahalo for visiting

Hawaii is a really neat place. In what is truly a very small amount of land, there exists an intense amount of beauty. Massive cliffs, amazing water, gorgeous beaches, inspiring jungles, and an innate passion for foam hats. These are things I will always remember about Hawaii.

My trip was multi-faceted. The first portion consists of some very cool hikes, beach trips, snorkeling, and all other matter of vacation excellence. Although pictures would have sufficed, I was recently gifted a GoPro (a replacement for older toys), and thus you the reader must now sit through a home movie. I apologize in advance.

Stay tuned for more super excellent Hawaii videos. Mahalo for watching!

F*@# the woods, give me some toys

As I’m sure everyone knows, the outdoor community is outraged with a Toys ‘R’ Us commercial that has recently come out. Basically, it shows a gaggle of children getting onto an outdoor education bus, and then being pleasantly surprised that they will not be learning about the outdoors, but instead going to Toys ‘R’ Us. See the commercial below.

Needless to say, my fellow outdoor enthusiasts are totally un-stoked about this, because of the obvious association that says the outdoors and outdoor education are boring, and materialism and toys are good/better.

I’m torn on being upset. How about the fact that my fellow outdoor amigos and I spend inordinate amounts of money on material items called ‘outdoor gear’ (but really toys one uses outdoors). And dig a little deeper here towards the ‘behind the scenes’ and one learns that these children are from Boys and Girls Club, Big Brothers/Big Sisters. So these kids could use a toy, and the outdoor community could perhaps learn to chill a bit.

Regardless of their deserving manner, it appears this is not really touched upon in the advertisement. What is touched upon is that the outdoors are boring, and toys are fun/better. For a 6-11 year old, I sadly think this might be true. But this is likely due to the fact that they don’t really have fun associations with the outdoors. Children grow up in suburbs or cities with no positive association to the woods and the outdoors. And the outdoor education cliche of being boring is frankly speaking, often times true. What 6-11 year old wants to learn about trees and leaves? Lets immediately fix this by making the outdoors fun for the same reason adults love the outdoors, it’s an adventure. Children love adventures, and they love fun, which is why they love toys. The second we make the outdoors fun, is the second that children will grow up cherishing them, and thus have the desire to protect and defend them later on. I say we need more programs that bring children to the woods to play, that turn the outdoors into a playground, that make it an adventure. Let’s present the outdoors to children in a manner that a child would understand, not in the manner that a botanist would understand.

This kid is having fun outdoors, and will always have fun outdoors

This kid is having fun outdoors, and will thus always have fun outdoors (sadly this is not me as a child)

I loved the outdoors at a young age. This is because I was fortunate enough to be a part of groups that put me in adventurous and fun outdoor programs, as well as having parents that supported my desires to explore local trails and country parks. Once the activity is fun, then the desire to learn and be an advocate will follow.

Also, if I had a nickle for every time I ran through Toys ‘R’ Us like a maniac as a child, I would be able to afford that new GoPro.

In with the new, out with the old

But more like ‘to someone else with the old’.

This was the theme of my past week, when I suddenly wondered how fast I could sell my bike. I like this bike, but use it for utilitarian purposes, and it has no real sentimental value to me. In fact, no bike has any real sentimental value to me, they are just tools to accomplish a task.

It served me well

It served me well

Above is the bike in question. So I went on over to the bike section of Craigslist, but not before checking out the scourge of humanity that exist on the personals. Pro tip: if you want to find the lowest, saddest, and most depressing representation of the human condition, pay a visit to the personals on Craigslist. Sorry in advance if: you found your significant other there, you post there, whatever. Also don’t tell me you’ve never wondered about it, DONT LIE TO ME.

Anyway, so I put together a nice little post, and sent it on its way to the wide world of Craigslist ads. Short story short, within the next two hours, I had sold the bike, and it was gone the next day. So then I went online, found a cool new bike and bought it same day. Here it is.

Its green

It’s green

So yea, that’s kind of it. Sometimes you just gotta switch it up and keep it fresh you know? Also don’t ever visit the personals at Craigslist, especially those with photos. There are some things you can’t unsee.

Tiny femurs, bummer

Whenever you do something a lot, you generally want to do it better and better. And by better and better, I mean you want it to stop hurting when you do it. No I’m not talking about a more efficient back hand for the S&M club, I’m talking about bike fit.

"same rules as a mechanical bull"

“same rules as a mechanical bull”

Finding the right position on a bike can open up a whole new world of insecurities, because it makes you dwell on all the things you thought were correct but now  know are wrong (kinda made me think of creationists who read a book for the first time). Knowing all the false knowledge you shlept around for all these years, just think about what else is wrong? I like to think I took it in strides. Things I learned:

  1. My femurs are off the charts! like in a bad way though, they are super tiny.
  2. My feet are big, and my shoes are likely too small. And seeing as how they already look like boats, this does not bode well for an already over-taxed shoe rack.
  3. I fit in-between two different bike sizes. So neither will be amazing, both will be solid.
  4. When an onlooker asks if you’re a professional because you “look serious”, say yes; don’t say “no I only do this for fun”. Because the follow up of a confused yet insulting stare isn’t worth it.

In all, my bike fit was an enjoyable and professional experience that I can honestly say was totally worth it. You leave more comfortable, and depending on how you handle criticism, better off for it.

A special thanks to the good folks at Bike Doctor Waldorf!

Black gold down

I, like many, enjoy coffee.

I’m not over the top per say, however I do enjoy what some have referred to as black gold (some say this is actually a term for oil, however coffee is number two next to oil for most traded commodity, so lets roll with it).

One thing that anyone can figure out right away is that coffee can cost a good amount of money. Purchasing a good ol’ cup of Joe these days is a real drag, and will certainly leave you broke. The solution? Buy a coffee machine!

The first coffee machine I have dealt with? It was Mr. Coffee. Mr. Coffee was a real POS. He was in the apartment and was something we dealt with. He had no features, and simply was there. He never really broke, but was never something anyone really liked, as the coffee always left a ‘whatever’ sensation. Coffee machine number two, Senor Cafe, wasn’t even a coffee machine, it was some kind of cheap, older espresso type machine. I’m told it worked at some point, however I never witnessed this. During its first use, it failed to work, and during maintenance it exploded, literally. Next on the timeline was RoboCoffee, which was a coffee machine of the future, complete with gadgets and screens. It was a cool machine, right up until it died, unceremoniously. What then you ask? Well I’ll tell you what, I gave up with the modern world, and did french press, Monsieur Cafe we called him. All this lasted until Christmas, when I was gifted a real game changer, a fully functional espresso machine from Italy.

All hail, the mighty Signori!

All hail, the mighty Signori!

Thus began the reign of The Signori. The Signori was a fantastic machine, capable of producing any espresso beverage, however was used mostly for single and double shots. As this beverage evolved to  define me as a person, so did the Signori ingrain himself into my life as an integral and requisite part of who I was. However, as all things in life, the term of the Signori was cut tragically short. He died, from unknown causes in July.

Now I am again without a special somebody in my life, helping me brew delicious beverages. The happy ending here? Non so far. Its just a sad tale of coffee machines, and how they come into my life, and then break my heart, time and time again.

I’ve got three to four problems, and a derelict coffee machine is all of them.

UPDATE: The warranty gods have spoken, and they have said “here’s a new coffee machine”. I therefore welcome to the history of coffee machines The Signori Duo. Live long and prosper little dude.

Those two glowing lights can mean only one thing, cafe time!

Those two glowing lights can mean only one thing, it’s coffee time!

Greetings America

It’s been quite some time since my ship has sailed from Costa Rica, and then run aground in the good ol’ USA. While here in the land that I have learned was actually occupied by Mormons for nearly all of time (I just learned this during the Book of Mormon), I have begun to put things back in place. Activities such as doctor visitis, trips to the DMV, and slowly trying to regain vestiges of physical fitness have all been on the docket for me, and have been going quite well. In my first week back, I spent my time in everyones favorite vacation spot, New Jersey. While there I had a visitor in my parter in crime and we committed to several nice rides, purchased my first smartphone, enjoyed lovely meals, did some pants shopping, saw a broadway play, saw some culture at the Met, over consumed at an all you can eat and drink sushi bar, and did other neat stuff.

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After this, my time has taken me back to the capital of this great land, Washington, D.C. Since being in this great location, I have been involved in some fun stuff too, including but not limited too some bicycle competitions, a trip to Bethany beach, a brewery tour of Dogfishhead, and some nights on the town as they say.  All in all, the reintroduction has been super plush and about as easy as it gets.

Lets see if I can keep it going.