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A Birthday Post!

I was thinking last night after we arrived home from a day full of joy, stress and tension…these tend to be the common emotions felt when we are at a softball tournament…that I really wasn’t ready to turn 40. But as I laid in bed thinking, I actually am ready to turn 40, not that I get a choice, but more in the fact that I have accomplished more than I ever could have imagined in my first 40 years of life.

I have traveled the world over, more times than I even care to remember. I have seen the sun come up in Ireland and I have stood in front of the Great Pyramids of Egypt. I have seen refugees take their last breath from lack of food and I have seen grown men get in fist fights because they were cut-off in the drive thru at McDonalds (true story).  I have flown an F-16 and I have thrown out the fist pitch at a Major League Baseball game.

I have seen the very worst mankind has to offer, and subsequently I have also seen the very best that mankind has to offer. I have managed to climb to the very top of the ladder in my career, somewhere I never thought I would be, and I have also managed, with the help of their amazing mother, to raise three absolutely beautiful children.

Through it all and without a shadow of a doubt the one thing I am most proud of, is our children. They never cease to amaze me, from 4.0’s to amazing athleticism and hearts the size of Idaho they are simply put, my pride and joy. Its one thing to excel at many things, but it is entirely another to accomplish all that and still manage to be someone that you just like to hangout with and be around.

Looking back over the first 40 years there was nothing that I didn’t do that I wanted to, literally nothing at all. I gave back to the tune of some 5000 (no joke) volunteer hours on top of my military service and I hope that in one way or another I have helped shape many young men and women into being the amazing people they are today.

No…without a doubt I am all but ready to turn 40, there was very little left on table. My kids like to tell me that I am now on the downhill slide to old and death, but I think they are crazy.   I feel like I am just getting started, I picture my wife rolling her eyes at that, but this is how I feel. As the kids move on and all head off to college, I will be honest with you when I say, I am looking forward to Chapter 2.

I am looking forward to being there for my kids but also I am really looking forward to grandkids, side-note here to Kameron, Aspen and Tryston, finish college first, I can wait. But when the day does come, I assure you I will be the proudest granddad there is. Finally, I am looking forward to the next 40 years, though I may not top the first 40 I do believe, and anyone that has spent five minutes with me can vouch for this, that I will do everything in my power to make this chapter the best one yet!

Memorial Day

This blog goes out to my Aunt Lisa, she has been hounding me forever to write something, anything, just write!  So here you go Lisa, this one is dedicated to you and your awesome family in Turlock!

I recently posted a picture on Facebook, I have been known to dMajor Winterso that from time to time, anyway the picture was simply a quote.  It showed a mother laying in front of a headstone and the caption read: “Memorial Day, in the event you thought its was National BBQ day”.  I liked it when I first saw it, so I reposted it however, I don’t like it anymore…I have been known to do that too.  You see my problem with it isn’t what it states, but with what it implies, so are we supposed to sit around for 3-4 days crying over lost loved ones…no, they wouldn’t want that.   Memorial Day is everyday, not just one weekend a year.  Maybe it resonates closer with me, I don’t know, but there should never be a time when we are not eternally grateful to those that made the ultimate sacrifice for you and I.

To your right you will see a picture, most of you most likely don’t have a clue who he is, why would you?  The Gentleman is Major Richard Winters, my hero, why you ask?  He personified everything I want to be as both a man and as a leader, he also served with the 101st Airborne Division during WWII and when that was over he volunteered to go finish the war in Japan, Richard was one of the most amazing men I have ever read about.  This weekend is for him, I assure you though I won’t be crying in my beer.

Outside of the military I have another passion, girls softball.  I coached boys baseball for about 14 years, I liked it but to be honest with you I was really ready to be done.  However, as luck would have it I was blessed with a couple of little girls who like their dad loved the game of baseball.  So there you have it, they were off and playing girls fastpitch softball.  I started coaching with a friend about 7 years ago, and it took me some time to learn the game and the game is played considerably different than baseball. However, my love for the sport took about 2 seconds, and I was hooked.

These days there isn’t a weekend you won’t find me on some softball field some where, I enjoy it like most of you might enjoy going to Six Flags, I truly get excited just thinking about it.  Marc, what on earth does this have to do with Memorial Day and Major Richard Winters…well let me tell you.   Were playing this weekend in the Wound Warriors Memorial Tournament, and it means everything to me as these two worlds collide.  So as you might imagine I am not going to be sitting around remembering those that have gone before me…no, I am doing one better, were playing in their honor.

IMG_1819I like our chances this weekend, we have fuel, purpose and fire.  To be quite honest with you our season has not gotten off to the start I would have hoped it would of, but you have to know my girls to know that were going to be just fine.  In all of my years of coaching I have never been associated with a team quite like this one.  These girls have something about them that just makes you want to see them succeed.  When I was pondering who to take and who not to take I was really looking for a certain girl, a certain chemistry if you will.  I wanted to establish one giant clique, not one team with three cliques.  Well, my coaches and I managed to pull that off and the result is the greatest bunch of girls I have ever seen.

So, as you enjoy your Memorial Weekend, drinking beer, boating, fishing, camping, BBQ’ing or playing softball, my girls and I will be on the field, battling it out for those that gave so much for us.  Please take one second to thank all of those warriors that paid the price so that we could enjoy this weekend, than enjoy it.  Tip a few back for them and enjoy your families, that is what they would have wanted.  As well, if you want to root for us from a far, we wouldn’t mind that either!  For the Freedom Fastpitch girls reading this post….get ready, get fired-up, get angry and get focused, and know that I believe 150% in all of you, now…let’s bring the pain!

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It was a simple briefing that posed a simple question: “What have you done with your life?”  Now “Life” was to symbolize the “United States Air Force” not life in general, but as the question was discussed my mind began to wonder.

I have been very fortunate.  I grew up in the middle of nowhere Idaho, where the majority of folks end up going nowhere, and they are quite content with that.  I had known from a very young age that I wasn’t going to fall into the evilness of small town life only to wind up old, drunk and disgruntled.  No, I wanted to leave and leave as soon as humanly possible, and that’s just what I did.

I never regretted leaving, I missed family and friends and I missed my high-school sweetheart, but it wasn’t long before she was at my side again and we were off on one heck of an adventure. By virtue of being in the United States Air Force I have been fortunate enough to experience more than her, some good and some not as good. But together we have not only seen, but done a lot.  We are extremely lucky.

A bucket list if you will, that has already been completed, I never dreamt that by the time I had turned thirty-seven I would have accomplished half of this, much less all of it.  My completed bucket-list, or at least the highlights of what has been an amazing ride to this point:

Become part of something bigger then yourself – Done

Learn then master more than one trade – Done

Visit Baltimore in the winter but then stay for the suffocating summer – Done

Spend four days in an Army hospital (alone) with pneumonia – Done

Catch a Baseball game at Camden Yards – Done

Witness the great Cal Ripken hit a home-run – Done

Visit Philadelphia — Done

Catch a Baseball game at the old Veterans Stadium – Done

Talk to Barry Bonds during batting practice – Done

Visit Washington D.C. and the White House — Done

Watch the guards at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier — Done

Feel the passion and heroics that spill from the Vietnam Memorial Wall — Done

Visit N.Y. City — Done

Visit New Jersey — Done (Not much of a highlight)

At the age of 18 drive across the United States alone – Done

Live in Georgia – Done

Visit Charleston – Done

Visit Myrtle Beach, experience the pain of pulling a mother’s child that had drowned out of the water – Done

Spend a week site seeing in Georgia/South Carolina – Done

Visit Alabama — Done

Enjoy Mardi Gras — Done

Catch a baseball game at Turner Field – Done

Talk to Chipper Jones at a Pizza Hut after a Macon Braves game – Done

Fly to Rwanda to aid in the effort to feed those that were starving to death – Done

Shake a Presidents Hand — Done

Shake a Vice Presidents Hand — Done

Handle clean-up duties in the middle-east after the first Gulf-War – Done

At the age of 20 drive across the United States – Done

Spend more than 12 hours in an airplane – Done

Live in Okinawa, Japan – Done

Visit Ireland – Done

Visit France – Done

Visit Italy – Done

See what past generations went through during WWII – Done

Snorkel in the Yellow Sea — Done

Visit Thailand – Done

Visit Australia – Done

Ask your high-school sweetheart to marry you – Done

Fly around the world – twice – Done

Witness the birth of a child – Done

Settle down and have kids – Done

Read a goodnight story to your son/daughter – Done

Live in Phoenix – Done

Watch a child take their first steps – Done

Experience a NASCAR race with your son – Done

Catch a baseball game at Bank One Ballpark – Done

Fall in love with a Baseball team – Done

Talk to Garth Brooks for 45 minutes as if you were friends – Done

Drive the ALCAN Highway in the winter – Done

Spend Five days in Fort Saint John Canada – Done

Live in Alaska – Done

Fly Fish in the most beautiful place on earth — Done

Watch a black bear fish beside you — Done

Halibut fish in Prince William Sound — Done

Walk on a Glacier — Done

Fly an F-16 – Done

Visit Guam – Done

Visit Afghanistan/Iraq – Done

Visit Qatar – Done

Watch your son swing a baseball bat for the first time – Done

Live in California – Done

Forget your wife’s birthday – Done (Not Recommended)

Coach your kid’s baseball team – Done

Be the President of a Little League program – Done

Watch your kids excel at life – Done

Visit everything California has to offer – Done

Become friends with amazing people – Done

Meet Albert Pujols – Done

Catch a baseball game at AT&T Park – Done

Catch a baseball game at The Coliseum – Done

Catch a baseball game at PETCO Park – Done

Watch your favorite college football team play in a bowl game – Done

Experience California from a bicycle seat – Done

Experience a NASCAR race with your whole family from a Suite – Done

Sit next to Tom Cruise – Done (should be stated he was in the next Suite over, close enough)

Watch your kids get Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes Autograph – Done

Experience Loss – Done

Live in Seattle (Puyallup) — Done

Leave your family all on their own in a strange place – done

Move to Korea – but don’t take your family with you – done

Cycle across Korea – Done

Experience the joy in coming home to your family after a year away – Done

Teach your son how to drive – Done

Watch your son/daughters accomplish something they didn’t think they could – Done

Be married to the most amazing women you know………. — Done

Fall asleep at night thinking you’re the luckiest dad on earth – Done

I came to one conclusion in writing my “Completed Bucket-list” that conclusion being: I don’t need a damn “bucket-list”.  I have already done, seen and experienced more than most people ever will and I already have everything I need.  What started out as a simple question pertaining to something entirely different, left me realizing just how lucky I really am.

So I had a pretty boring weekend, you?  Needless to say ten years ago our day was anything but boring.  We all remember it, its no different then Pearl Harbor, JFK, or the first Gulf War, I think most of us know where we were and who we were with.  In my travels today of riding my bike in the rain, studying my Course 14 and surfing Facebook there were several occasions to reflect.  Typically when I do that it leads me to this, a blog to share with you.

I mentioned on Facebook that I thought the Moment of Silence deal going around was silly and just for the record I still do.  I have always thought moments of silence were silly, September 11th didn’t change that.  A follower of mine that I don’t know or even know why I follow to be honest with you had struck an issue with it, she felt the need to remind me of how she lost loved ones on that day and that this day is special to her, and in no way shape or form was it silly.  Isn’t America grand, how many other countries are there where she simply couldn’t have even had a conversation with me, because she is a woman.  After all, women are seen (barely) and not heard in the majority of the places we get to visit.  Yet she was free to not only disagree with me, but do it publicly.  Ladies and Gentleman this is what America is all about, and its why I love this place.

I am all but certain the Facebook Moment of Silence is important to more then just my lovely little friend.  In fact, I expected someone to ask me if I was out of my mind.  Truth of the matter, I didn’t post it to get a stir out of people, I posted it to remind folks that you can do more then just avoid Facebook for a few hours (have I told I think its silly).  My friend from Facebook actually plays a big role in her job as a flight attendant.  In fact, I would venture to guess she has no idea how big of role she actually does play.  She stated that she had the privilege of bringing our troops home.  Let me tell you, there is no finer feeling in the world then walking up those air stairs and seeing her and all her other flight attendants, because they are America, they brought it with them, the dream that is freedom arrived on the very same plane they flew over.  She stated it was her honor to do it and I don’t doubt that at all.  It definitely means the world to us to see those big old American smiles.  In the end we agreed to disagree — isn’t America grand?

Moving along back to my moment of silence silliness if you will.  I want to elaborate just a little if I may.  Do you treat the playing of National Anthem as a moment of silence?  Do you fly the American Flag on the side of your house everyday?  Do you vote in your local elections?  Do you donate blood to the Red Cross?  Do you volunteer at your local shelter or food bank?  Do you coach a little league team?  Are you a Den leader or Den Mom?  Have you participated in a charity event that was bigger then you?  Do you get raging mad when you hear someone say September 11th was a conspiracy?  More importantly does just the reminder of that day make your blood boil? Are you getting my point yet?  Are seeing where I am going with this?

Though my friend made it clear she does her part, and still plans to have her moment of silence, I would venture to guess most of us don’t do our part.  I have a crutch to fall back on, I could easily say that hey, I am in the military, I have done enough.  But you know I don’t feel that way.  I am not a Marine that pounds down doors and roots the caves of all evil.  I am not a Soldier that marches through the Valley of Death every evening and I am certainly not a “One Shot One Kill”  Navy Seal.  No I am an Airman, sure I do my part, but I also drink more coffee then most Marines/Soldiers do before 0900 then they will all week.  Simply put I fly a desk.  So I feel I have to do more, so I do, and I am asking that we all do.

I have been fortunate enough to have some of the most amazing people I have ever met as friends.  I have a friend that can completely rebuild a car from scratch in his mind and articulate it to me step by step (wow).  Another that is a stunt rigger for Hollywood, who can build a bike (the pedal kind) from scratch and even take time out of his day to call all the way across the world to help me get mine shifting again.  I have a family of friends that I miss everyday, in the last year they have adopted three kids from China, are you kidding me?  Holy cow, talk about doing your part, and oh and their military as well.  Good grief, I know who is the leader on the Brownie Point Leader Board.  I have countless friends that would give me the shirt off their back if I asked them to, but more importantly they would give it to you as well if you needed it.  All of them are doing their part, in making America bigger, better and stronger.

So if want to take a break from Facebook for a few hours, knock yourself out, get your butt down to the local shelter, participate in a Livestrong event or go give blood, anything to continue living the dream that is America. But don’t use September 11th as a reason to do it, don’t use the Facebook Moment of Silence to get you off your butt, do it everyday and in every way.  Lastly for all of you that are doing it everyday — my hats off to you and Thank You for keeping the dream alive.

Why?

Its a fair enough question I suppose; “why the hell would you want to do that?” A question I have received more then once over the past week. When first asked, I almost get defensive in the sense of “Why the hell not?”  However, I have aged, and with age luckily a sense of patience and understanding has came with it.  So why you ask.  The answer is complex, simple and confusing all at the same time, but lets see if I can somehow explain it.

Normally I would say look to your left — need I say more?  But there is more, so much more then no one really understands or knows.  I think on most days I don’t share the way I feel with anyone, not even my spouse.  I can be reserved like that, not sure why that is, but the things that seem to matter to me most are the very things I keep bottled up inside.  Everyone knows my passion for Livestrong, I pretty much don’t own a piece of clothing anymore that doesn’t bare their logo.  Its who I am, its who I have turned into and I am not quite certain that I had a choice in the matter.

We all hear everyday that god called someone to do something or that they do things because they truly believe that at that given moment in time its simply what they should be doing.  Well, that’s where I am at, its what I feel I should be doing.  Though I don’t talk to god all that often, I definitely believe that the path I have traveled down before, has led to me to this.

It started well before I was even born, I had a brother that died shortly after birth to cancer.  Though he wasn’t my brother at the time he would have been later on, as you see I was adopted at the age of two.  My mother pictured at the left was going through some very hard times, and the unthinkable happened, she had to give me up, as she thought it was the best thing  for me.  I bring this up for a reason of which I will touch on later.  So before I had even stepped foot on this planet cancer had played a part in my life.

I had a great childhood, I had the pleasure of having two families.  Though I never knew my real father, I was completely o.k. with that, as my adopted father was perfect.  I did have the pleasure of having two mothers and they both knew their role in my life, neither trying to out do the other, or ever trying to down play the significance of the others role.  It worked, but what I didn’t know until the very end of my biological mothers life, she was significantly troubled for having give me up.  Something I learned while she was in her final days.  I reassured her that I was completely understanding, and if anything I loved her more for it.  Giving up a child is impossible to do, even when you know the circumstances dictate that you need to do it.

I was never as close to my biological mother as I was to my adopted mom.  In fact for most of my childhood I don’t think I really understood what it meant to be honest with you.  I thought everyone had two moms.  I can tell you that I fully understand it today, and what troubles me the most is that I waited until her final days to let her know, all was good. I simply have to do something in her honor, I have to do something that says, I am sorry for not being there more.  All to often we take for granted that our loved ones will be around forever, and that’s simply not the case.  There was another women that meant the world to me as well, my grandmother.

You probably wouldn’t know it, if you knew me at all.  I don’t write, I don’t call and if I live next to you there is a very good chance I will never even knock on your door, and that’s if your family.  I just possess poor skills when it comes to that kind of thing, genetic flaw I suppose.  I lived next to my grandmother for six years and never made a single trip to see her, pretty pathetic, I know.  There was a surprise waiting for me though, cancer was going to strike again, and take my grandmother away.  So if I didn’t learn the first time, cancer was there to remind me, stop taking your loved ones for granted.  I miss my grandmother tremendously, she was an amazing women, whom I loved dearly.

Though in the end cancer didn’t end my fathers life, a heart-attack handled that, it would have gotten him had he give it enough time.  I could go on for days about this man, I will spare you the details, but to say he was my hero would be down-playing it considerably.  He wasn’t perfect and for quite a few years he was no saint, but who is?  In the end he got it right, and was simply amazing.  I can without a shadow of a doubt tell you I would not be where I am today without two people, my father and my wife.

My wife has not battled cancer, so why her you ask?  It’s simple, the odds of her battling cancer before her life is over are pretty damn good.  Cancer has slowly taking away everyone that has meant anything to me, damned if its getting her too.  So let me just put this out there right now — don’t knock on our door cancer, because we are going to kick you right square in the ass if you do.  How does one do that you say?  Livestrong, that’s how.  We have to support the programs that are fighting this awful disease and Livestrong does it better then anyone.  Damned if I am going to set around and watch another loved one be taken from my grasp without putting up a fight.

Not a day goes by I don’t think of those that I have lost.  The simple thought of my father can bring me to tears, watching the A’s playing on T.V. reminds me of my grandmother and not a single Neil Diamond song ever plays without me reflecting back to my mother.  As well I owe everything I have accomplished in the past 18 years to my wife, I wouldn’t have been able to do it without her, and I can’t bare the thought of losing her.

So why am I riding 130 miles?  Why the hell would I do that?  I am riding because I can. I am riding because my Grandmother, Mother,  Father and Brother cannot. I am riding because others may need me to set the example.  I am riding because I hope that someday others will be able to ride with me again.  I am riding because someday my wife and kids may have wished I had rode for them. I am riding because one day I may need you to ride for me. I am riding because I am no longer going to sit by idly and watch cancer take more of my family away.

If you would like to support our effort to raise funds to help aid in the fight against cancer and to sponsor our trip across Korea please visit our website at http://grassroots2011.livestrong.org/kunsancycling_sellers

Today’s adventure across Korea was met with much anticipation.  We had just finished a week of long shifts and lots of work, it was time to ride.  Our weather for today’s mission was expected to be great.  I had accomplished no less then twenty-five weather checks throughout the days leading up to it and we were ready.

From the start we experienced a rather cold and stiff breeze swooping in from the ocean side of things and the decision to not wear the cold-weather bibs was looking to be a stupid one.  Our roll-out lasted about .8 miles when we were met with a locked-down front gate.  As we stood around waiting for the gate to reopen, I am convinced it was the beginning of the end to our warm ride.  Either way it didn’t matter because we were going.

After about 30 minutes of standing around and freezing the gate finally opened.  With cold legs and screaming quads our first stop was the reservoir pictured to the left.  A very pretty site, that we cycled right on by in an attempt to keep the blood flowing and to stay warm.   What you can’t see in the picture is the millions of tiny gnats that we encountered as we rode across the banks.  Literally swarms and swarms of gnats.  I was following the lead guy, so I hunched in right on his rear wheel in a futile attempt to let him break the bugs for me.  Once we made across it was time to stop and perform a cleansing of the bog mafia that now resided in our helmets.

Pictured to the right, I had just finished my debugification prior to this lovely pose.  It was now time to keep moving and regain what little warmth and blood flow we had created earlier.  As I had stated in the last post, cutting across fields to reach your intended objective seems to be the route of choice.  Could you imagine if we had cement roads in the US cutting across farm fields?  The amount of endless routes would be crazy, and it is here in Korea.

There is some beauty in that can be found in farm fields and its in that beauty I believe that allows me to enjoy traversing through them.  On this particular day we were met with a cement truck though; stopped directly in our path.  After a quick dismount and some carrying of the bike were able to get around him and press on.  As we made our way through the fields we started our approach into Gunsan City when I was reminded of the fact that one of the favorite past-times for Koreans is golfing.

To the left here you will see the Korean version of a driving range.  They are all over the place, large netted structures that typically house double and triple decked driving ranges.  One of the coolest features of these ranges is the set-up.  One its cool to just look at and marvel but two, the way the netting is laid out, your ball simply rolls down the netting into a trough and pops up out of a hole in your station.  As fast as you can hit them, there will always be another ball waiting for you.  For about 7000 Won you can hit as many balls as possible in the span of a couple hours.  That equates to roughly $6.00 to hit a couple hours worth of golf balls.  I can only imagine what they could charge for this back home, but I am guessing it would be more then six bucks.  Continuing on, we were making our way to Gunsan City.

As we headed into town it was really starting to cool down.  One of the draw backs to cycling if there actually is one lies in the fact that the faster you pedal, the colder it gets.  A fact that I would be reminded of several times today.  Though its difficult to make out, it seemed the park was full of Korean war monuments, fitting I suppose, but we were really just guessing as everything was written in Korean, so I cannot be certain of it.

We were greeted with this lovely little bridge upon our arrival.  My cycling partner Brian informed me that in the evenings the bridge is lit up like a Christmas tree and quite the site to see.  Another adventure perhaps, in August.  At this point I was really starting to get cold and it was time to look for warmth.  Right on the corner adjacent to this beautiful bridge set a very quaint and adorable coffee shop and it was screaming our names.

After some much needed coffee and warmth it was time to head back out.  We started our ride around the body of water but only 15 minutes in and the wind was howling.  I told Brian that I was officially cold and miserable, he agreed, it was time to head for home.  What seemed like a good half-hour later we were finally back out of the park and headed for the house.

The trip home would be much quicker then the trip in.  I am what I like to call a determined cyclist.  I have this uncanny ability to put my head down and just pedal through it, however today, I was struggling.  Looking back a few times to make sure Brian was still with me we put the hammer down.

Over the bridge, through the woods and over another bridge, down the street and to the right, past the driving range and into the tunnel we were back at the farm fields.  Since Brian pulled bug blocker duty on our trip in I took the lead and blazed a trail across the reservoir.  It wasn’t long before looming in the distance was our six story building we call home.  Near frozen to death and looking more the like the front grill of a car after a long road trip we had made it.  All in all it was a great day.  I still enjoyed my trip across Korea today and that’s all that mattered.  It might have helped just a little knowing that we were about to go consume bacon-cheeseburgers and a few Sam Adams.

To see more pictures from today’s ride you can visit my Flikr site here.  Enjoy.

The first ride outside the gate was planned and in the books.  It started out very cool probably in the 30’s I would guess, but warmed up to about 40 as the day went on.  A good friend and quad-mate of mine (we live in quads 4 to a block with a kitchen) was accompanying me on this ride.  I was a little concerned, as he is pretty new to cycling, but I knew he was in good shape, so we saddled up.

You immediately realize your in another country the minute you roll out the gate.  Everything here is old, and I don’t mean the old strip mall on your corner old, I mean 1950’s old.  The Koreans are very resourceful people, buildings don’t get knocked down for appearance sake.  Our journey today would take us out to the Sea-Wall a giant protective dike installed  to prevent us from getting the same Tsunami action that our friends in Japan just experienced.

The farms here are filled with concrete roads that run all through them.  For cyclists this is the greatest thing ever.  So instead of risking your life out here on the roads you can cut through the farm fields.  Some are concrete and some are cobblestone.  It was very cool, more then once I felt like I was in Europe.  For me, it was great.  Having suffered through some serious bouts of home sickness since I have been here, it was just what the doctor ordered.  On the way back we would have an encounter with some quarry trucks that sent my blood-pressure through the rough.  I was careful not to cause an international incident, but they knew I was pissed.   Continuing our journey out we ran across several things that caught my interest.  I probably could have taken a thousand pictures.  Everything is different and unique to us, which inherently makes it  interesting.  As well I knew I would be sharing these with you, so did a lot of stopping and snapping.

As stated before the Sea-Wall was the objective.  As we started out across it, a kind of surreal feeling come over me.  I felt that if the folks down in Japan had a wall like this they might have fared a little better.  Roughly fifteen miles across the first leg, gives you some idea of just how big this thing is.  A nice blue path was put down for runner and cyclists (how nice of them) to use, America take a lesson from this please.  Our journey was welcomed with a strong head-wind.  So needless to say I taught my friend, who is new to cycling, the art of drafting.  Being the good guy that I am I took the lead and kept it the whole day.  At the halfway mark across the first leg we ran into a little park, conveniently named Dolphin Park.  Using this opportunity to give my screaming quads a rest, we noticed they had installed outdoor fitness equipment.  At first we were a little taken back by it, as this is kind of out the norm for what we are used to seeing, playground equipment maybe,  but not exercise equipment.  Brian Took the opportunity to experiment with it.

Once we finally came across the first leg we found these random stairs on the side of the mountain, so of course we had to take the opportunity to see where they went.  We found this great little view at the top. The ride home was considerably quicker with the 20mph tailwind, we lined up and flew all the way back across.

All in all the first trip was awesome.  Though most of my cycling will be more touring and less training (I can train at home) it was everything I hoped it would be.  Seeing the country-side from a bike versus a car has and will always be the only way to go.  I am desperately awaiting next weekends adventure.  Stay Tuned!!!!!!!!