Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Once in a Lifetime...

A link from Adventure Cycling on Facebook got me reminiscing. Lately I've been encouraging my senior students to go out and have some kind of epic adventure early in their lives. Anyway, in my recollecting of my  1981 Mexico to Canada Bikecentenial (now called Adventure Cycling) adventure, I remembered this photographer guy, Art Wolfe, who helped me when my Suntour freewheel exploded on Going to the Sun road in Glacier National Park. It was early morning, we had to get up to the pass before 10:00 AM or the NP sweep wagon would take us off the road, to our starting point. Apparently this guy Wolfe was out chasing the morning light, but he stopped and offered help because I was basically dead in the water.  My riding companions took off, continuing up the road, where I had to stash my bike off the road,  and hid it behind a fallen log out of sight of vehicles, hoping a grizzly bear would not find my food stash in the panniers. Mr. Wolfe and I stuffed my rear wheel among large format cameras and tripods into the crammed Porsche 924. Art took me back to Whitefish, I fixed my bike, he got his car fixed (a wobbly shift lever) and he went for a swim in Whitefish Lake. Eventually he drove me back to my bike when the road reopened to cycling after 5:00 PM. I had put a new axle on the bike which turned out slightly too long or I had misaligned it or something and I had to hacksaw about 3 or 4 mm off one end. Mr. Wolfe had a 1/2 of a hacksaw blade in his car and I eventually trimmed the axle with that primitive tool. Now it was about 6:00 PM and he took off leaving me alone. I pedaled alone up the highway. Beautiful scenery, awesome ride. I made to the Canadian border via the Chief Mountain highway at midnight, where I kept thinking I was going to run into a grizzly in the middle of the road. I crossed the border in the morning and caught up with my group in time for breakfast...pancakes if I remember correctly.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

I remember where I was...

I was a free 20-year old on an adventure. It was the late afternoon and I was driving my vintage open top Jeep down I-84 in southern Idaho heading towards Salt Lake City. It was intensely cold without a heater or top (I lost the top in a roll-over 3 days before). I had installed an AM radio which I rarely used, but to take my mind off the severe cold, I had it on.  Through the tinny speakers about three or four John Lennon songs played without interruption which I thought was a little unusual, when the DJ came on announcing that John Lennon had been shot and killed at his condo in New York City.  Hunkered down behind the windshield, trying to stay out of the wind, I think I felt the same way I did when John Belushi died a year or so earlier...I was disappointed, sad, and a little angry. I pondered this as I headed south. I was too young to remember the assassination of JFK, but I knew this would be one of those significant events in modern history.

Monday, November 08, 2010

A Trip to the Scheduled Launch STS-133

My sister has a friend who works in External Affairs at the Johnson Space Center who was able to get us three VIP passes to the scheduled launch of STS-133, the space shuttle Discovery. We were to watch from Banana Creek, some 3 1/2 miles from launch pad 39A. The only way to be any closer is if you were part of a rescue team sitting in an APC a half mile from the launch pad.

Despite the shuttle still sitting on launch pad 39A as I type, it was still a great trip.
It was Air Force Week at Cocoa Beach so we went to the airshow. Saw several demonstrations including a F-15E (the baddest F-15 there is).  

And a U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet. Both jets were badass, but the F/A-18 was super bad.

On Halloween night we went to a party hosted by Michael Coats, director of the Johnson Space Center.

There I got to meet a few astronauts including Mike Good (STS-125, the last Hubble repair mission, and STS-132).

Plus I got to visit with Nicko McBrain, drummer for the heavy metal band Iron Maiden. He was funny.

On to the KSC we drove around the VAB (vehicle assembly building) and had a photo op outside. This pic was taken from inside the bus, hence the glare. I liked this angle better than the photo op they gave us. Last time I was there (1978) my brother and I got to go inside the building, but that was during the transition between the Saturn rockets and the space shuttle system.

Mobile launch pad for the space shuttle. (Endeavor will use this one on its last launch next spring.)

Launch pad 39A and there sits STS-133. (taken through the bus's window)
This pic was taken from the bus as we drove around launch complex 39A.
The orbiter is hidden away behind that gray room-like thing. It is swung away prior to fueling and launch.

My sister and brother-in-law
And as far as I know, STS-133 still sits on the launch pad having missed its launch window, plus finding a crack in its ET (external fuel tank). Launch has been rescheduled for November 30.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Views from the Castle

Just messing with the G11 and learning how it works.

There is a small fort on El Morro that everyone calls "the castle". It is maintained by the city of Lecheria and is rented out for various functions. One of our bicycle routes zooms right past it so I stopped today with some friends and took a few from that vantage point. 

Waiting for a Load of Oil
Lone Cyclist
Bahia Barcelona
Condos Across the Bay

La Falla Fun

 Got out on the bike this morning. I rode a lap of El Morro and then worked my way up to La Falla (an area on El Morro). I had to fix my Pauls chainguide and once I figured that out I did one lap of the course (1km) and then took some pics. I got a few that I liked.

Pedro always a good subject.

Alfredo and Eduardo climbing to the start/finish

Some guy I don't know his name. On a new Kona full suspension bike.

The guys at the start/finish area.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Hot Lap

Negro and Pedro do a hot lap.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Today's Ride

Got out this morning for a little while. Took my new Canon G-11 to try and get a few action shots. 

Fabricio's shot turned out the best.

Pedro is always a good subject. I used a fill flash, so I got some reflection from his Bell helmet logo.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Things That Fly: the Delta Dart

Delta Dart
I have an after school club with a few students and its called "Things That Fly". Right now we are building Delta Darts. I built one beforehand so I'd know where the technical parts of the build are (mostly the cutting of balsa wood) and to motivate the students.

This afternoon I wound up the rubberband a couple of hundred twists and let her fly!


easily clearing the basketball court covering
 It climbed to altitude, higher than the basketball court covering (about 8 meters/25 feet).
saved by the tree
 Thought I lost it on the roof but it came gliding down and got snagged in a tree where I recovered it.
my assistant



It took a few more flights after that. Good fun!

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Golf Course

Last night, while waiting for election results to be announced, I had a dream....

I was on a golf course. I climbed a hill and looked to my left and looked at the fairway. The grass was yellow and dying, and scattered with weeds. Suddenly I am in the clubhouse where I recognize a man. He is the golf pro. He is older than I last remembered him and more haggard looking. I ask him point-blank if he likes this communism stuff. He peers out the window to the yellow golf course, looks down at the floor and walks out of the room. 

I woke up (at 3:40 AM) thinking about the Venezuelan National Assembly elections. 

Like golf or not, golf courses are works of art. Each one is unique. They take design and planning. They require work and constant maintenance. Without it, golf courses die…much like a building or a country. I believe my dream was a metaphor for what has happened to Venezuela. Countries are can be like golf courses too. They require work and constant maintenance. Without that, they die.

The opposition candidates won 52% of the popular vote yesterday, but they hold only 40% of the seats. That is because of illegal gerrymandering by the government. Hopefully this will be enough to stop Chavez from taking Venezuela down the path of communism. This ruling party no longer has 2/3 majority in the legislative body. The downside is, Chavez still has until January 1 before the new assembly takes their seats and this may be plenty of time for him to implement some of his most evil plans.

Chavez has not said a single thing on TV or radio that I know of. He knows he’s been caught red handed. Hopefully this is the beginning of the end for him.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

A Journey Through Rural Eastern Venezuela

Had to attend a teacher's workshop at ISM in Maturin. A few the better pics from a rapidly moving Chevrolet van showing some of the stuff you'll see along the way. 
I love this country for all its rural funkiness.
old man and the market
PDVSA facility

oil worker commuting by bike
casabe (cassava bread) drying

coastal range
waiting for the bus

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Dirtbombs

These guys have been a recent discovery of mine since the whole youtube revolution. They rock! This some kind of documentary on their website.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

An Extremely Small World

So I head out for a bike ride this morning and do my usual route; up El Cerro, up La Falla, past Punto Caribe, down El Fausto, then bomb down The Rails. As I was descending The Rails, I caught the glimpse of a pair of bicycles below heading to the northern end of El Morro. Down on the main route, I  also head north (part of my original plan anyway) and intercept the cyclists. One bike is pulling a Trail-a-Bike with a little girl. The captain, is wearing a K-TAOS T-shirt. I cautiously come around them and ask in English if they are from New Mexico. Startled and surprised the dad say yes. They were "mainly from Gallup" and we had several mutual friends including my best bud, Steinar.  They are new to the area, a teaching couple working at the international school in Barcelona. It also turns out we were living in the Gallup area at the same time and never crossed paths that I can recall. Trippy!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Facebook Wars

I've been defriended by two people now on facebook.

The first was, Fred, a friend from New Mexico, who came to Venezuela a couple of times. He stayed with me and my wife for a few days on his first visit. He liked it here so much and liked the revolutionary process of Hugo Chavez, he decided to move to Venezuela for a few months. Tania and I visited him on Margarita Island when he settled in on his second stay. We had an okay visit, but we obviously weren't on the same page when it came to Hugo Chavez.
Facebook came about and this guy was one of my first "friends". I was still learning the ropes and etiquette of the whole facebook-thing when I started contradicting what he was posting about the positives of Hugo Chavez. My friend, an artist, was/is extremely leftist in his views. It was probably rude on my part and perhaps not my place to go to his "wall" and post negative comments when he wanted to paint rainbows and butterflies about this so-called revolution. He defriended me. We had been friends for only about 2 weeks. That might be some kind of facebook record. 

Disenchanted with the whole fb nonsense, I turned it off for a while until one of my Venezuelan friends ran into me and said he was trying to send me something on facebook but my account was not turned on. I pondered that for a few days and decided, okay, I'll give it another shot. 

On my second time at fb, it has become a time-suck for me. I spend too much time on it and it has taken away from blog. I like my blog. I feel this blog is me...kind of weird and eclectic. A collection of my random thoughts, but kind of centered around the mountain bike cultures. That's my brain...

On this second gig at facebook, my friends list has expanded greatly. Facebook has been great in getting to know and reconnect with family I haven't seen in 30 or more years. It has been great in getting to know family members (children of my cousins) I've never met. One of my friends was my 1st cousin, Tommy. 

Tommy and I have always had a good relationship. We are basically the same age, we always had similar interests and therefore liked each other when his mom and dad brought them out to New Mexico or if we went to Louisiana. Anyway, like I said, it was great getting to reconnect with him. We shared a lot of stories and such. 

One thing we didn't share was our political view. He a "conservative/libertarian", me a "left-of-center/liberal-light/libertarian-light/anarchist-light"...really I am not really sure...but its not with his views, nor is it with Hugo Chavez's bullshit. Got to be somewhere in the middle I suppose. 

Tommy didn't like me posting "political" stuff on my facebook page. What???? Apparently he just wanted rainbows and butterflies too. Don't we live in a free society?...These Tea-Party types are sounding more and more like Hugo Chavez and shooting the messenger. He would make long, long replies to my fb posts that I would skim over. I could see his point, but it wasn't necessary. I feel I am an intelligent guy and can make my own decisions...good or bad. 

The last piece I put up that broke the camel's back was an article published in Psychology Today about how liberals are more intelligent than conservatives. I posted it because it made sense to me. Not because I think I'm more intelligent than my conservative friends, but I think my liberal friends are more intelligent than my conservative friends. Maybe its my bias, but the most intelligent people (I am referring to I.Q.) I've met have been more left in their thinking (don't get me wrong, I do have conservative friends that I find intelligent and we have great conversations, but politically we don't see things the same way). I didn't explain that when I posted that Psych Today piece, I just posted it without comment. My cousin blew a gasket on it and defriended me. Oh well. I kind of laughed that day. I still do laugh about the absurdity of it. And this is the reason I haven't been back to Louisiana since 1996 and probably won't go back. My upbringing and experiences have brought me to another place. Louisiana will always be part of who I am. I look in the mirror and its hard to deny those Cajun roots, but I don't think like that part of my  family and I'm glad. 

So, I've been defriended by both ends of the political thinking spectrum.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Moving Pictures o Los Autos de Caracas

Found this on The Caracas Chronicles. 

Moving Pictures o Los Autos de Caracas (1/4) from Chris Moore on Vimeo.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

A Song for the president and the Party in Power

Elections are coming up on Sept 26. The president is in higher than normal bullshit mode. I 'll let Mose Allison  (one of my favorite musicians) tell you what I think of him and his candidates for the AN. 

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Mimbres Man Gila Five-O cycling shirt

This was my original idea for Mimbres Man. A cycling shirt for casual cycling. This shirt was probably 15 years ahead of its time. I designed and produced them in 1995 to 1997. Made in California. Pulled from retirement, I still love this shirt both in form and function.
 The Gila Five-O in one of its many functions...
Classic design, 100% cotton from a domestic (USA) manufacture (same supplier of authentic Aloha shirts), coconut buttons

 Rear pocket for cycling things (sunglasses, wallet, etc.)

Logo on sleeve

Manufacturer's (me) label 
(this one was a second)

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Ride The Divide; The New Mexico Premier

Ride The Divide, the award-winning feature-length documentary about the world’s toughest mountain bike race, continues its debut tour when it makes its New Mexico premiere on Tuesday, October 12 at the Silco Theatre in Silver City. The film chronicles the story of several mountain bikers who attempt the 2,711-mile race named the Tour Divide along the Continental Divide in the Rocky Mountains, ending at the Mexican border after passing through Silver City. The movie was named the Best Adventure Film at this year’s Vail Film Festival.

Ride The Divide embraces the inspiring stories of three of the racers who experience the immense mountain beauty and small-town culture as they attempt to pedal from Banff, Canada, to a small, dusty crossing on the Mexican border. There’s Mike, a 40-year-old family man who uses this challenge to chart a new course in life; Matthew, a leader in extreme endurance racing who’s competing for his fifth time; and Mary, the first female rider to race this route. As they set out, they will attempt to accomplish what very few have been able to. Over the course of a few weeks, they’ll attempt to climb over 200,000 vertical feet along the backbone of the Rocky Mountains.

They’ll experience mental breakdowns, treacherous snow, hellacious blisters, and total fatigue. Above all, they’ll race with no support – at times in total isolation. The tests of endurance and the accomplished moments throughout Ride the Divide prompt us to reflect on our inner desires to live life to the fullest.

Ride The Divide made its debut at the Vail Film Festival and was named the best adventure film at the event. Outside Magazine proclaimed that “(t)he toughest bike race in the world is not in France,” after reviewing the film.

Ride The Divide will be shown at 7:30 p.m. at the Silco Theater in Silver City. Tickets are $10 and will be made available in advance about a month prior to the show. Gila Hike & Bike is the presenting sponsor and will have advance ticket information when announced.

Media contact: Garry Harrington  603-209-5010

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Virgin del Valle

It is time for this year's Virgin del Valle festival. I am not catholic, but this happens on the beach in front of my condo, it is kind of cool. I don't know the whole story but the Virgin del Valle is the protector of the  local fishermen.

My first year in Lecheria, the Virgin statue was just adobe mud. Each year in preparation for the festival, they improve the statue. She is a work in progress. 


There are actually two statues, a big one...

And a little one.