Monday, June 30, 2008

Finally On The Road Again!

Sorry for the long delay between posts, but life has been keeping me busy.  I did leave HI and am now back on the mainland.  Julie stayed in HI and is keeping busy with her many jobs and the canoe club.  Her canoe team is fighting for first place!  Julie and I are not together anymore, but are remaining good friends.

Baltimore treated me well, as I got to kayak, wakeboard, and catch up with lots of friends and family.  I ended up staying in Westminster with the parents for 15 days.  The big projects where finding an outfitting a cross country ready car and buying a new laptop.  The laptop was easy, and just required a large CC payment:(  The car was a complete headache.  I finally settled on a '98 Volvo V70 wagon.  It is nice with power everything, leather seats, dual climate controls, heated seats, CD player and it even has a tape deck:)  I did have some major issues that required the car to be in the shop for a few days and had me writing another $2K check.  In the end, with the roof rack setup, the car came out to about $7K.  The issue now is that the check engine light is back on and the trunk won't open.  Apparently it is going to cost me another $300 or so to get the trunk to work again.  For now, I guess I'm climbing in through the front:(

The next adventure was a week in Boston to visit Heather and Erin.  It ended up being tons of fun, even though Heather was a bit decapacitated due to a bone spur and bursitis in her ankle.  My ankle is still messed up from kiting in HI and I really hope I don't have to deal with the pain and issues that Heather has been dealing with.  I managed to get to the local rock climbing gym 3 times with Erin, kiteboard in downtown Boston, catch the "Grand Canyon" & "Alps" IMAX films, and enjoyed a lot of quality meals and drinks out on the town with the girls.
(Boston as seen from the Boston Science Center Parking Garage)
(Wide view of Pleasure Bay with the city in the background)
(The Locals go HUGE out here!  I'm flying the red kite in the background.)
(A bit of an industrial setting, but quite fun)
(Laid out and lovin' life)
(Heather, Erin, & I havin' some drinks in H's kitchen)

Today I left Boston and headed up to Montreal.  It was a long drive and I had to deal with the many issues of picking up a new Fluid kayak from the distribution center in VT.  The distributing company is a quality outfit, but I'm so glad to not be doing business with Fluid Kayaks anymore!!!  I did manage to get a great session in at the Habitat 67 wave in downtown Montreal in the new boat.  After a quality kayak surfing session I headed over the bridge just downstream of the wave for a bit of gambling at the Montreal Casino.  It is a very cool and interesting casino and I luckily walked out with enough extra money to get a hotel room tonight.  I'm looking forward to some more boating, and possibly gambling, before heading for the Ottawa River tomorrow.
(Arriving in French Canada)

I'm excited about this trip.  It has been way too long since I've been on a solo cross country adventure.  I'm hoping to get in shape and find as much kayaking and kiting as I can as I go.  My plan is to make it out west in the next month or so and set up roots with a new career.  I'm working on a number of options, but I'm keeping my eyes and ears open if you hear of anything.  Please be sure to keep in touch.  More adventures and photos to come shortly.

(Boston Kiting Photos taken by Erin Higgins)

Monday, June 2, 2008

Farewell Hawaii

The past few weeks have been intense to say the least.  We had lots of visitors, we canoed, we partied, we hiked, and I made some big decisions.

Julie and I took out some one man outrigger canoes that her work generously let us borrow, these things are over $3K a piece!  It was tons of fun and Julie got to show off her canoeing skills.  Julie did manage to tip over a few times, but it was a hot day and I'm sure she was just trying to stay cool;)  Julie also caught the wave of the day surfing it all the way to the inside of the breakers.  Luckily for her she was able to put those speedy canoe strokes to work and make it back to the outside before she and the boat made friends with the reef.
(Julie showing off her canoe form on the new Kamanu composits design the Pueo)
(Bryon giving the outrigger canoe thing a try)

We had a ton of house guests over the past few weeks as Aaron had three friends in town (Andy, Tim, and Nate) and Julie and I had Heather and Erin.  It was a full house, but everyone got along and had a good time.

Julie took a day off early in Heather and Erin's visit and took them out to the Mokalua Islands by kayak.  They got to enjoy the beach, check out the tidal sea life, as well as enjoy some cliff jumping.
(Heather enjoying the local sea life while the ocean explodes behind her on the Mokes)
(Julie jumping on the back side of the Mokalua Islands)

Two Saturdays ago we had a huge party at the 651, our place.  Aaron decided that it would be an Indian Jones themed party, as the movie opened that weekend.  The crew went all out with movie posters, full size Indian Jones cutouts, the official movie display, fake whips, Indiana party hats, booby traps, tiki torches, balloon snake pits, balloon boulders,  and the list goes on.  Derek made sure the party would go off properly by providing a keg of Longboard Ale.  We had a few less people than anticipated, but that was a good thing and we still managed to tap the keg!
(Julie & Erin getting into character, too bad it was more Charlie's Angels than Indiana Jones:))
(From Left to Right/Back to Front: Andy, Nate, Derek, Aaron, Tim, Jenny, Erin, Heather, Julie, Bryon)
(Julie attended the canoe blessing ceremony at the Kailua Canoe Club on Sunday)

On Sunday Heather, Erin, and I attended the Land Rover Wheels Event at Kualoa Ranch.  All of us had a hard time getting up after the crazy party the night before, but everyone managed to hold it together and enjoy themselves.  We couldn't have asked for a better day or a more fun group of people at the event.  It is always fun to take Land Rovers out into their natural environment.
(Land Rover Wheels event at Kualoa Ranch)

On Tuesday I took Heather and Erin up the Stairway to Heaven Hike.  It was a beautiful day for the hike and the views where spectacular.  I think the ladies will remember this one for awhile just because of its uniqueness.
(You could see most of the windward coast, Pearl Harbor, and all the way to the North shore from the top of Stairway to Heaven on this day)
(Erin, Bryon, & Heather at the top of Stairway to Heaven)
(Heather & Erin descending the final set of stairs on the Stairway to Heaven Hike)
(Bryon getting in a little light wind kiting)

On Wednesday Julie, Heather, Erin, and I took the scenic drive up to the North Shore.  We toured around all the famous surf breaks and checked out a ton of surf shops along the way.  We had lunch and drinks up at Cholos in Haliewa and then headed down to Sharks Cove for some napping and snorkeling.  We also took the ladies out to Kona Brewing in Hawaii Kai for dinner and drinks.  By the end of the day we had circumnavigated the entire island of Oahu!
(Erin wondering like the rest of us why Haliewa had NO waves!)
(Snorkel Julie ready to see the fishies at Sharks Cove)
(Heather and Bryon enjoying a beautiful sunset at the Paradise Cove Luau)

This past Thursday Julie and I took a sick Heather and friend Erin up the Olamana hike.  Heather was a trooper and ended up enjoying herself, even though she looked like she might keel over ascending the first peak.  Erin did an amazing job fighting off the jitters with the extreme exposure that the third peak offers.  It was a great day with amazing views of the windward coast of Oahu.
(The girls atop the third peak of Olamana with Kailua in the background)
(Erin descending the third peak on Olamana)

My Turkish motorcycle friend Umut found the love of his life and got married this past Sunday on Lanakai Beach.  It was a beautiful ceremony and he is extremely happy.  He also doesn't need to worry about his expired US work permit anymore:)
(Jenny and Umut's wedding on Lanikai Beach)

My big decision has been to leave Julie and the Land Rover job behind in Hawaii and move back to the mainland.  I'll be back in the DC/Baltimore area for a week or two sorting things out and then I'll be hitting the road.  I'm hoping to squeeze in a bit of kiteboarding and kayaking as well as catching up with friends and family.  My plan is to find a new career in the Pacific Northwest.  I have a number of solid prospects, but have yet to nail one down.

We'll see how often I'll update the blog, as I need to buy a laptop when I get home.  Hopefully all will go well and I'll have some great adventures and career news to share shortly.  Please do keep in touch and maybe I'll get a chance to catch up with many of you soon.