Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Bike bliss.

I awoke early to ride my bike up the best part of Waipoli Road. It's a brutal start with no flat part to warm you up.....just immediate incline.

However, I was spurred on by my new 'go faster' shoes on their inaugural outing. These guys did it in 6.5 took me about 40!

There's a peace in the world before it wakes up and if you couple that with the special feeling of just you the cows, birds, flowers, trees and clouds........well it's a magical recipe for a great ride.

The grasses and petals were still heavy with dew and I rode in and out of cloud banks, all the while with a steady cadence propelling me upward.

A cattle grid might stop cows, but it did little to stop this glorious beauty from taking root.

And talking of roots....look at this comedic carrot that showed up in a bunch from the farmers market. Bless.....I didn't have the heart to eat him, yet!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Oahu (again)!

I popped over to Oahu (again) this last weekend and am so glad I did, because I ran into the penguin pidgin!

Ala Moana beach park was full of bright umbrella colors on a hot and muggy day.

One way to cool off.

Here's to Molokai, camp over night, jump on a SUP or paddleboard at 6:00am and cross 32 miles of choppy, currenty, swelly, windy open ocean to Oahu! That's what 120 teams and individuals did on Sunday morning for the Rainbow Sandals Molokai to Oahu paddleboard race.

Including our very own Michelle Crompton who along with her team mate Yves, completed this insane challenge in 6hrs 23 minutes. It was the first crossing for both of them and they came in well ahead of over half the pack and (I believe) 2nd in their mixed team division. Un-bloody believable. The fastest time was 4hrs 45 minutes and the slowest 9hrs and 8 minutes. Here's Meesh who swam across the finish line (as one does), as Yves brought their 16ft paddleboard me all competitors did not look this good!

Phew-it's enough to induce a nap in the best of us.

Sunday, July 19, 2009


Our next destination beckoned and as we blazed by Ralph Lauren's Double RL Ranch (above) we reached Telluride by lunchtime and snagged our campground spot, #19 abutting the babbling river. “Let's pitch the tent later guys, it's time to go and rent bikes” said Michael, no argument from us girls on this one! At the mountain base by the free Gondola we lathered on free sunscreen and drank some free water before loading ourselves and our bikes into the vertically moving capsules.

"Say cheese".

I was becoming a broke-back record, "OMG it's so beautiful" or "unbelievable" or "this is absolutely stunning" or "you've got to be kidding me" or "so lovely" were (by this stage) so overused I was boring myself. But people look at that view.... "unbelievable"!

What a blast we had flying down the single-track trails with their gaping vistas and abundant aspen groves. From the woods we'd burst on to this famous mountains winter ski runs, resplendent in their green summer grass attire, it was like seeing them at low tide.

Canada geese heading.........well I'm guessing to Canada.

Mountain Village provided rest, iced coffee and cheap child entertainment.

As the clocks don't change in Hawaii we don't get the benefit of the long summer nights that I enjoyed in Colorado. Constantly tricked by the light, I felt like a kid who was getting to stay out well past her normal play time, 'twas heaven.

In case you were wondering "are those rumors about the Colorado wild flowers true"......yes ma'am they are.

Arriving back at base camp dirty and happy, we pitched our tent and duly rode right back into town without a wash or a change. We ate a fantastic dinner (outside, you'll be glad to hear) and Michael did a great pitch job by giving away our last piece of pizza. After duly inspecting the one lonely slice of Margarita, the lucky winner picked up her prize and walked out of sight around the corner. Our triumph was short lived as she then proceeded to dump the tasty triangle into the trash (little did she know inch high private spy Lehua was watching)! And who says there's no such thing as a free dinner?

Dessert anyone?

One of the Alta Lakes.

Telluride trails have a little marker on them indicating bikers, hikers, skiers and dogs are all welcome. That's terrifically refreshing from the 'no no no' mentality that is pervasive in the Islands. There are 'pick up' stations along the scenic pathways in case you forget your dog poo provisions and I didn't see one piece of litter on any of the trails we ventured onto, or in town. There's a consciousness here that's been set by the residents giving a friendly 'thumbs up' to everyone, along with an unspoken agreement requesting that you play well with others and respect the land...and it works. Nice recycling job.

On our last morning after de-camping we squeezed in one more ride and then reluctantly turned in our bikes. Our two day adventure was an ongoing visual monkey swing from one glorious view to the next. Michael was the consummate social director and Lehua an easy going and adventurous romping companion. As for me........Veni, vidi, apprezzato....I came, I saw, I appreciated.

Happy campers.

“Tents arrived', yelled Michael and with that Lehua and I packed our bare necessities and headed out onto the San Juan Skyway for a few nights camping,

Heading up the scenic road to Silverton, we stopped at the old Stream Train and asked Casey Jones for his picture.

Father and daughter enjoying lunch by the river.

We headed up out of Silverton on the Alpine Loop to Animas Forks. These old mining towns have tons of character and you can't help but ponder the difficulties they must have endured in the early 1900's, as journey in 2009 in the luxury of a Range River was not exactly an easy one!

If these were Chalets instead of mining ruins I'd swear I was in Europe.

After the beauty of our 11,200ft vista with it's rolling green hills, rushing waterfalls, pockets of snow pack and wild flowers I thought we'd peaked for the day in the visual department. "You've got to be kidding me?" I said as we headed down the Red Mountain Pass. Not yet getting it, I kept my mild cynicism to myself when Michael told me we'd soon be entering “The Switzerland of America”, bloody hell, wrong again! The setting for the town of Ouray was unbelievable and totally worthy of it's cheesy label and while we checked on the local camp grounds, concrete platforms for our tent and clothing optional hot springs didn't fit our picture of a family summer camp.

However, we struck gold at Ridgeway and after our camp fire dinner, Lehua entertained and educated us by reading from “Why go dogs do that?"

You can take the man out of Durango.......

Check SpellingWildlife at it's best, Chipmunks rule.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Family day at the lake.

Short of toys, Floyd and Michael are not. Today it was the boats turn to bring us all joy.

Floyd officially has 'hat hair'.

Me & Michael showing pre ski confidence.

Jiminy cricket hopped on board for a rest.

Speed is not my thing, but being at the helm of the boat on a wide open empty lake was definitely a thrill.

Lehua has her first taste of water skiing and got it in no time at all.

Having not skied in 22/23 years it showed, but we were all equal fodder for a good laugh.

Unclear if Steve is being extremely cool or about to go down (my guess is the latter).

Steve and Lehua cooling off.

The boys relaxed as our eleven year old pilot took us home.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Durango days.

My digs (above) are amazing and I'm defiantly living the good life on my friends horse ranch.

I feel calm and tranquil here. For a visitor that doesn't have to clean the tack room, help move the manure hill, buy the supplies, check on the brood mares, exercise the bull, move the cattle, feed the ducks/geese and daily move 50 bales of hay to feed the horses, it's a dream vacation!

During these first few days I've had some powerful upwellings of pure joy and it made me realize I'd come to Durango with expectations. Even though I know better (keep your expectations low) I'd imagined that I would have those feelings, but I no idea they would come with such intensity and consistency. This view is from a hike up in the Aspen groves and looks down onto the ranch below.


After a morning hike, an amazing lunch and an afternoon nap (for me) it was time to saddle up. Chico is the gentlest of their horses and perfect for a newbie like me. We wandered up hills in thigh high grasses spooking deer and chipmunks alike. "Lets gallop" said Michael "I'm not sure about that I replied", "It's way easier than trotting" he said and with that we headed into a small arena. With my helmet on, Chico took off and I have never felt anything like it. In that first moment of speed I got why people love to ride. There was such grace and connection that I teared up and did it again and again and again (both the galloping and the crying)!

Explaining myself to 11 year old Lehua later, she quizzed me "did you gallop or lope"? Bloody hell, I thought, in my imagination I galloped like the wind, but now I'm guessing I loped...what ever that is?! I'm sure when we ride again she'll whiz by me in a blur and demonstrate my options!

Coors Light and a game of pool anyone?

Yes, that's me with two left feet doing the dreaded western dancing-praps if I get a Cowboy hat I can hide my shame under it and loosen up a bit more?