Thursday, June 18, 2015

112. Heavy breathing at 8,000 and up

Let's start this off with the little precious at 10 months old. Mona is still a giant baby that is very cute and on the verge of becoming a threat to all who have to chase. She is walking! Of course Mom loves diaper art and there are only two months left until she hits the final month of the series.

Parenting has become more difficult as the little hot rod does not sleep as much and is becoming fussier. Teeth coming in and learning new emotions and with myself working many hours she is changing faster than I can keep up. This can result in an unhappy child.

Mona has had her first road trip to California a few months ago and did well. In two weeks she will be taking her first airplane ride. The kid has it pretty good. I didn't have my first flight until 16 or 17 years of age. Looks as if she, like me, will not remember it! Mom and Dad are worried about the experience!

To the title of this piece; exercise is a very important part of my life. I rarely get free time between a busy work schedule and family life so every opportunity which presents itself is taken advantage of. The last post about fat biking is what today's post is inspired by.

Las Vegas is getting hot as it does every summer and the older I get the less I subject myself to physical extremes. Up until last year my preferred method of transportation has been motorcycle and bicycle in almost any weather condition. Maybe my wife's more sensible side has been wearing off on me?

A few days ago I hit the trails west of Las Vegas for some mountain biking and my dermis was wringing the sweat out in buckets. The conclusion was made that for the remainder of the summer my two wheeled exploits would have to be in higher/cooler elevations or not at all.

Off I went to Lee Canyon to try the Bristlecone Trail which was 3 miles of hill climb followed by some single track with vertical drop off on one side and then some fast flowing downhill. The weather was right and so was the scenery but my lungs were struggling!

When I got to the single track it was so gnarly in parts that I was walking to avoid falling off of the side of the mountain. I should have taken some pictures there but it was 100% concentration. Once to the fast flowing downhill section the ride quickly came to an end as the last couple of miles flew by.

I call it a successful ride to get some alpine riding, cool temperatures, and pleasant sights.

These guys are wild and enjoying a grass cutting session in the Lower Lee Meadows.

It was so peaceful getting away from the city and the crazy. My job entails getting away from the city but I still am taking and herding/entertaining 55 or more people for 15 hours at a time. At home it is the little princess that has the presence of 100 people.

It is getting much too late so you will be left with this...

Saturday, May 23, 2015

111. Fat biker

It has been a while! A not so young buck has been busy. Parenting, working, setting up the new business, getting a fat bike!

It is so rare to get any time to ride said fat bike since other responsibilities grapple for the attention.

Three things have happened in the last year that I never anticipated in my lifetime: becoming a father, owning a business, and asking for a hand in marriage. Talk about nervous on that last one! Not because there was a doubt about the wrong answer coming out but more the act of doing it.

I already call my S.O. my wife out of commitment and love but to actually push towards it being official, just didn't seem like it was going to ever happen.

This song is for her:

It has been seemingly forever since listening to some good music. Few things bring the heightened mood that music does and it is forgotten from time to time. Especially now.

I haven't sang to my daughter much in the past few months. Need to stay on that. She is just about walking at 9 months. She can stand up and take a few steps already. She feels the need to skip crawling and practices walking most waking moments. The kid is so cute and I should be keeping up with the pictures and videos but working 80 hour weeks has been getting in the way. I do have two full days with her when I am not working and the wife puts in a few hours at her job.

Poor girl is being stripped of her job of 13 years by yours truly who just stepped back into tourism after years out of the game. We are both looking forward to the future as I work into my highest paying position of my life. The motivation of taking care of our daughter has lit the fire under my buns. Have to make sure this kid wants for nothing(in a non-spoiled way).

Here is a little vid my wife did of Mona doing boot camp crawling:

How we ended up with such a cute kid is beyond me. I was always complimented on looks so maybe that is why? Mona gets her first plane ride out of the whom in a month. Kid is going to NYC and Bingo town. Next year she goes to the land of the rising sun. Little globe trotter will have half as many abroad trips under her diapers than myself before the age of 2!

I count my blessings how life has went from an aimless lack of purpose to a very clear picture that is beautiful.

My new hobby is fat biking. Just no time to do it now while busting tail at work and home. Going slow has never been so much fun.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Buck ten: Almost died

Being a father has put a tail of responsibility to every decision made henceforth. As I type this, one eye is kept on the little gem.

Last weekend my trade brought me to Death Valley for some scouting but instead of going by preferred method of transportation I was relegated to the truck. Still had a great time but the itch to get the new bike out there and ride was like a fresh case of poison ivy.

Enter today, the rare day off. I woke up early to return some paperwork to the office and it was a very calm and clear. The bike was a must as it sits for a week at a time.

Paperwork handed off and I knew I had to go back to Death Valley. Permission was granted from the wife and I was off. A quick fill up just before heading out of town and the ascent begins to get out of the Vegas dust bowl.

Don't laugh because I roll a scooter! After eating, breathing, and living every facet of motorcycling and conquering the largest, fastest, and heaviest my final frontier is the slowest and most fun. You can say I no longer have much to prove.

This little scoot, however, is quite competent. The ride today proved this and the photos to follow should give you a decent idea.

Speaking of photos, after the picture above was taken, yours truly was almost turned to mashed potatoes. Kind of fitting that on a ride to Death Valley I almost died. Climbing Mt. Potosi, some impatient cager decides to pass around a corner on a double yellow(no passing zone) in his Hyundai Veloster. He is next to 2 other cars which are too close for him to escape my lane so I swing wide and am ready to bat his mirror as he passes.

I felt a slight anger but maintained composure an did not retaliate and continued on my ride without much fanfare. Later in my ride it started to weigh on me the possibility of leaving my daughter without a dad and even though this bike is a lot of fun and recently purchased, it may be time to hang up the jacket and helmet and quit while ahead.

Back to the ride; I climbed Mt. Potosi at a steady 59 to 61 mph indicated(scooter riders can appreciate this statement) and flowed down the back side at 70 mph not wanting to use much throttle. The little Yamaha conquered the mountain that the fuddyduddy Jerry claimed would bring a CVT equipped scooter to a halt.

Posing after the hill climb.

Before getting to Pahrump I almost always bypass it and head for Tecopa Hot Springs. Better scenery and less knuckle heads usually. Once over the pass you come to Resting Springs Ranch as well as the China Ranch Date Farm. Both are an oasis fed by natural fresh water springs. This is Resting Spring Ranch.

Just a little further in is Tecopa which is now a modern day ghost town. I took this picture more for the old truck.

This pic is of a pool in Hot Spring. I love how peaceful it is here.

Muddy Hills of Hot Spring.

In Shoshone there was a well kept Airhead from Montana complete with hack and trailer. Most likely the only vehicle I had a top speed advantage on.

We make entry to the Death Valley National Park.

Finally down "in" Death Valley. A little breezy but still holding decent speed. Badwater is still another 20 miles from here.

Telescope Peak at over 12.000 ft. has its snow cap in the background.

At Badwater(there is a tiny sign in white indicating sea level) you are 282 ft. below sea level.

I am getting hungry at this time so I forego any stops until Furnace Creek. I park next to a KTM 690 and head for the bar.

The food was over priced, looked decent, but tasted mediocre.

After lunch I felt the need to get back to the family so off we go.

Tecopa drew in a few hot rods.

The final shot is Mt. Potosi after conquering it in ease.

Friday, October 31, 2014

109. 2 and a half months with an angel

Last we left off prior to the birth of my daughter: Mona. She has arrived. Each sight of this cartoonish miniature of her parents leaves us in a deeper state of enamor. The child could not get any cuter. As luck would have it, she is an easy baby as well. Quickly taking to sleep through most of the evening and never whining or complaining. It is like the math of both of us parents worked out well: calm + calm= calm.

When she smiles, all is right with the world. And now into the 11th week she smiles and giggles aplenty. I am back to working long hours and when I get home and begin rattling off my baby talk she gives that toothless smile with squinted eyes. Be still my beating heart. Never had I known this type of love in my life.

Luckily with my schedule and my wife's we do not have to take our little girl to some sort of a sitter service or day care. The last thing I would want is this little gem receiving anything but the best of care.

Some pictures are in order.

This is fresh from the oven. She was delivered via C-section a few says after the anticipated birth date. Looking at her now, she was so skinny then. 7 lbs and 20".

I had to learn baby maintenance first while the wife enjoyed the medications which kept her comfortable from surgery. The lack of sleep was very difficult while staying in the hospital. I manned the bottles and diapers and time went so slow as I counted Mona's breaths it seemed.

Her cries were so cute as her lungs had yet to have the strength to give her wailing power. I still find her cries and coughs cute as they are so subdued compared to my own power. Yet somehow she packs flatulence like a 50 year old lactose intolerant man after drinking a gallon of 2%. That is always good for a chuckle.

I have a curse or gift of hypersensitivity with all of my senses except for smell. My sleep is usually deep and difficult to awaken from. This little girl so much as makes a peep and it is like a Marine Corps sergeant is shouting over me at 4:00am to get my ass out of bed. I spring up instantly. Faster than Mom does, even!

For the first few weeks I would have dreams that she was sleeping in the bed with me, that my head was laying on her, swaddled in a blanket. It would start a state of panic with me searching for her in the bed only to find my head resting on the pillow. Very bizarre.

Later on I would let her sleep in the bed with me. She sleeps very well there but I only do so for naps on occasion.

It feels as if she has been with us for decades already. We have been to the doctor for her check ups and immunizations twice now and she is gaining weight appropriately and getting taller faster than normal. In 10 weeks she has gained 6.5 lbs and grew 4.5". She is truly a happy baby.

Mom does not like having her pictures shown off so I will leave her out of the entry.

Here Mona is having a laugh at daddy.

When people see her when we are out and about they gush at the cuteness. I can't fault them. For the first month and a half since she has arrived my voice has been like a broken record to the sound of, "I can't believe how cute she is!" I must have said it a few thousand times already.

So far she has had no problems and is as happy as a clam so we could not ask for more.

Outside of the new life as a parent, things are going well on the job front. After the baby was born I went back to work and am in the process of opening my own business. It will sort of be like being a parent of a business as well. No other plans to talk about details as competition is ruthless and will try to shut me down. It happened to a company I worked for years ago in the same industry.

Things have changed for the better since the arrival of our little treasure. She has added a new found meaning to my life and no longer are decisions made on my behalf but on behalf of my daughter. It took me a long time to find her mother and thanks to her our efforts have resulted in a blessing.

Until next time we see you, whenever that may be...

Monday, August 11, 2014

108. Somebody to love

This goes out to my girls.

My love barometer for the past 7 or 8 years has been based on my immediate feelings of Billy Joel songs. His music was always a cornerstone from my all time favorite artists until I associated it with a few year love affair gone wrong. Sure it led to some of the highest natural feelings during my possession of this thing called a life. Unfortunately a bad love will be subject to Newton's Laws.

I am not blaming anyone for what happened. Sometimes the forbidden will steal a part of you even if you contain the strength to resist.

So, Billy Joel, my unborn daughter gets a kick- pun intended- out of your music. No longer do I despise your work due to the negative association drawn from that emotional corpse that was in tow.

Which song does she like?

I say she likes the song but truth be told, she gets active to the music. This could be her begging for peace and quiet. We won't know until she gets out and can verbalize, at least with body language, her opinion of the said piece.

The Yukester's mother is visiting from Japan to witness her first grandchild in the flesh. We will have three generations of the clan under one roof. Looks like 500 years of samurai blood will be continued with an Irish kick.

The fact that two people are about to experience the best moments in their live's is out there. We have been waiting so long for our baby girl that each day seems to lengthen in hours. Maybe this is life's way of slowing things down as prior to the engagement of legacy procurement the days were but a blur. It was great but now that g word does it no justice.

Even clothes shopping for the little girl is entertaining. Heck, you would be lucky to get me in a store, much less one without internal combustion engines attached to two wheels.

Depending on how Mona does on the birthing finale will decide if she gets a sibling. Should she pull off the miracle natural birth then we will try for baby numero dos as soon as it is safe. With the Yukester's age we are being cautious even if our first attempt has been nothing but seamless and healthy.

Estimated birth date is less than 48 hours away and it is looking as if she will be a little late. Ironic as I am like a Swiss watch with timing. Due to the Yukester's age the doctor is recommending an induction in the 40th week to avoid complications.

Tomorrow evening will be another appointment to plan the course of action.

This kid will have an amazing life. Showered in love.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

107. Possibilities

It is rare these days that modern music inspires much outside of appall. This ease of access to the masses and the marketing of image over talent leaves much to be desired. Just look at any musical entourage pre 1990 and then skip to 2000 and present.

The artists used to be all about their wares. The talent rose to the top as the music is what was being marketed.

Thankfully there are gems here and there in our present. I can't get this one out of my head at the moment and not one bit minds:

Most of my writing was accomplished during 2005 to 2009. It was a time when I could still find music that tugged the right strings upstairs and the words flowed. Those days are missed as good music has mostly been mined for my interests across all genre of most decades since the recorded note.

Speaking of notes, I still sing to the baby that is one month from her first cry. She likes music with violin the most. When there is an orchestrated tune with the higher pitches of violins or violas she gets jumpy. Excited is not even the word to describe our excitement. My plan is to skip the 'baby' things as much as possible. No annoying baby music and the least amount of baby toys as possible. I want this girl going straight for the good stuff.

The Yukester has been a trooper but the baby's size is finally putting stress on the host. Yuki has this maneuver where she goes and gets this wooden massage apparatus with two rollers and sets down next to me. She knows I am mind reading-like intuitive/attentive so she never gets a chance to use the thing before my magic hands dig in to repeal the burden of gestation.

We are about ready for the birth. Just a few more items to acquire but all of the majors are covered. Bought diapers for the first time in my life. Maybe it is the natural state of becoming a parent but the whole process has not been negative or scary. When we started trying it happened faster than we were anticipating. Other than the surprise of efficiency it has been smooth.

It also helps having family that just had a child with all of the tips you could imagine. That and studying Youtube for swaddling, diaper changes, bathing techniques, baby calming measures, etc..

Regarding possibilities, the title, we may move to Japan. I really want to. Not just because of the new found love of ramen. That or the Japanese culture being one of super coolness. I would fit in with the orderly and mannered society. Plus they have all of the motorcycles I have lusted over for years.

Although teaching English would most likely be expected of me I would gravitate towards an export business to share the sweetness of the forbidden fruits among my also denied brethren. It would be grand.

With my appetite for learning and inhalation of things unknown(to me), it would be a much needed mental exercising.

This concludes this evenings session.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

106. The last hurrah... for a while

You may know that I will be on daddy duty in about a month so my adventures, which I normally have not written much of until lately, will be few and far between. While I partake in my morning Niacin flush, fresh off of yesterday's 17.5 hour ride, let's reflect on the run.

The initial plan was to go to Utah for the day and maintain some altitude to avoid the heat. Upon nightfall my route would thread back through Area-51 to watch the dark sky for anything abnormal before returning home preferably when the temperature eased back below the ton.

On my way towards the highway that heads north out of town traffic came to a halt as the northbound highway was blocked off by the Highway Patrol. My route is altered to continue past, exit the highway, attempt gaining access from the other direction but to no avail.

Factor in the already climbing temperatures and I decide to go south and maybe head home. It is going to be another very hot day and the goal was getting away from that. While headed south I began to cycle through alternate options and 'Angeles Crest' burbled to the top. South it is!

Angeles Crest is a name given to Highway 2 running through the Angeles National Forest. It is 70 some miles(I forget how long the section of twisty road is) of sandpaper tarmac where straight sections of road are rare. My old group of riding buddies and I would go out there twice a month from Las Vegas during summer months to storm the twisty roads.

Every time we would go to this road someone in the group would crash and I think when my brother crashed, that was our last time. Since that event the road had suffered horrendous weather related issues such as mud slides, wildfires, etc. that put it out of commission for years.

Back to the adventure, as soon as you get to the road you start to smell the trees and assorted vegetation. Pine is aromatically delicious. Sure beats the smell of flatulence that welcomed me upon arrival in Vegas at 1:30am.

That new role of daddy crept into every decision while on the ride. I didn't take any sort of aggressive body off of the motorcycle instead just opting to take it easy and stay in line with the bike. Good thing too as two police officers were out running radar and had no luck with one of the only sportbikes on the mountain.

I made a stop at Newcomb's Ranch. Nobody was home other than the police officer who was following behind me who proceeded to hide behind a tree. Hilarious. I should have took his picture but I didn't.

A lot of the terrain was not recognizable due to wildfires. My stops were few so pictures are limited. I did see a Yamaha SR400 on this road. That would be a pleasant ride through these parts.

When I do my rides I never use navigation through my headphones and also do not keep visible GPS or directions. Upon stops I will consult the phone for maps and remember directions. On a ride like today there wasn't a motivation or direction outside of riding Angeles Crest. After completing that task I wanted to go to the beach.

I headed due west and randomly ended up in this town, admittedly lost, when this place stuck out like a sore thumb.

Century Motorcycles in San Pedro. I was blown away with what they had inside. So many bikes I had read about but never seen in person. Ariel Square Four anyone? Here is a quick video of one side of their showroom.

The owner had a Suzuki OR-50, another bike I had seen pictures of but never have seen in the flesh. It was his mother's bike! Cool people and amazing historical motorcycle collection.

Once I could drag my attentions away from this vintage goodness I sought out another motorcycle shop before needing to finally eat. I say finally eat because I had not done so since 7:30am and it was now 5:30pm. My M.O. had been hydration and not once did my body tell me to eat. Always have been able to bend the rules like that.

Right near the last motorcycle dealer I spotted a Mexican restaurant and stopped in for a surf and turf burrito and two beers. It hit the spot and to continue the improvisation of the trip, intuition led me back to the coast and south to find a decent viewing of the sunset.

Homing in on the holiday weekend, it is starting to get crowded so some journeying further south until about 20 minutes before sundown the location was had. It was a scramble to get there before then sun dropped! San Clemente was a great place to watch the action.

If the train was slightly faster, by 5 minutes, it could have been in the video for extra dramatization. Just in front of the bench where I sat were these red flowers giving off a wonderful aroma. The ocean whisking in the cool humid breeze with a steady and soothing soundtrack. Beyond peaceful.

For the sake of adventure, the entrance to the Ortega Highway was very close, it was a must ride. Even in the dark it was a gas going through the twisties and and descending into Perris/Corona before jumping on the I-15 and flying back home.

As luck would have it, and an extra sharp set of eyes, I was cruising at a high rate of speed in an unlighted section of the highway when the barely perceptible reflections off of a highway patrol appeared in the median. Rolled off of the throttle and thought for certain my goose was cooked. Maybe he/she was on facebook or otherwise distracted and nothing happened.

And so it was for the remainder of the ride back. Cruising at a quick clip and getting in at around 2:00am. Even with all of the riding I was still energized. Certainly that is why I do it.