Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Taking a Break in Virginia

We are visiting my wife's brother and his family in Virginia just outside of Washington D.C. before heading up to PA for the memorial service. The traffic here is really crazy. I don't see how people could find their way around pre-gps. Lots of small, windy roads with lots of people in a hurry to get somewhere. This afternoon, I drove around looking for sushi ingredients but found pickings to be pretty slim. The fish monger at the Whole Foods grocery store couldn't recommend the ahi for sashimi. I was looking for unagi (broiled eel) but couldn't find any. There is a large Asian food store in Fairfax maybe I'll stop by there tomorrow. I'll probably just make California rolls or something like that.

Update - Wednesday, December 31, 2008 This afternoon, I went to a large asian grocery called "Super H" in Fairfax and they had frozen unagi which is much better than the canned version. It was a huge store almost the same size as the asian store we went to last summer in Huntington Beach. They didn't have as many restaurants as the one in California. We also picked up some green tea mochi ice cream (delicious!). I also stopped at an Apple store in the Fair Oaks Mall to pick up a new Nike+ sensor. Too late to try and finish some of my end of the year challenges but I didn't want to go walking much without it. I know that seems somewhat childish but I can't help it. This is the Christmas display that was in the mall. At least I got a little bit of walking in today.

Today, there was a wind advisory for the area with predicted winds of 35 mph with gusts to 48 mph. Near here, there was a snapped power pole with the top half of pole hanging by the power lines. No pictures. I thought about running out and taking a picture but ran out of time.

Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 28, 2008


Last night, I had a hard time getting to sleep. Probably too much Diet Coke before bedtime. Anyway, I started re-reading some of my old posts to this blog. It started out by trying to remember what the other meeting was that I attended early last year in Tempe, AZ. I remembered the Northern Tier winter meeting but couldn't remember the other. I guess that being able to look things up like that is one of the benefits of this blog. I noticed that I have been trying to get my mind (and body) used to the idea of jogging for over a year now. I don't seem to have progressed very far. Last year, I was annoyed at myself for not keeping up with the walking goals that I had previously set and annoyed with myself for gaining back some of the weight that I had lost. I guess things haven't changed much for me. It seems that I've had the treadmill now for over two years now and still regularly do the same customized workout that I had set up way back. I guess the difference is that it was a real stretch back then and now I will occasionally augment it with a mile or two of jogging after finishing the 45 minute workout. Still, I'm not to the point that I had wanted to be by now. I am still overweight, still get winded if I try running uphill, still annoyed with myself for not meeting my goals. The WIN goals that I've set as part of the individualized counseling sessions seem rather "lame" and readily achievable.

My goal for the next year is to lose an additional 20 lbs. It seems like a reasonable goal given the fact that I've gained back 10 lbs from a year ago (after swearing to myself that I wouldn't gain it back!) so it is only an additional 10 lbs. Still not where I want to get but definitely better than now. For the first year, I was benefiting from the 10 mcg Byetta that I was taking. It had a fairly strong appetite suppression side effect at least for me. Now I am on a 5 mcg dose that doesn't have the same side effect. Some of the other side effects were pretty disruptive and that is why I'm on a lower dose. Well, that's my resolution. Lose 20 lbs. I still haven't taken advantage of the one month pass to the Alaska Club. Two years ago, that is what got me started on the treadmill.

My Nike+ sensor died again. Hopefully I'll be able to find an Apple store in PA or VA. We are heading there for a memorial service for my mother in-law near the end of the week. Doesn't feel like a fun trip but it's not -40°F there. It is miserably cold here today and I think it's supposed to last all week.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

It feels like a down-sized Christmas this year. I think that's because some of us are heading to PA after Christmas for a memorial service. The tree wasn't up until last Sunday and just lights, no ornaments. No lights on the house (or on any others in the neighborhood) Add to that a couple of trips out of town for me and the month passed pretty quickly. I usually enjoy shopping but this year, I didn't get to do much. Too little exercise and long days when I'm in Barrow really has me feeling run down. My WIN goal is just walking three times per week and eat more vegetables. No problem with either of those goals but I feel depressed since I've gained weight since last April. Very slowly but 10 lbs is significant and it will be hard to get rid of.

I can't wait until spring gets here. Do some skiing, get the bike ready, plan some camping trips, weekend and evening walks. Maybe I'm just getting old but it feels too cold to do much of anything outdoors. Very nice walk to church this evening. Not too cold, light snowfall, and just enough light bouncing from the clouds to see the road. Too slippery to jog (yeah, I tried believe it or not) but very quiet and peacefull. Perfect for Christmas Eve.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Solstice Sunrise

Facing towards that Alaska Range just before sunrise from West Ridge at the University. I think it was around 11:00 or so, and incredibly clear. I just had to take a picture even though I knew that the cell phone camera wouldn't do a very good job. I don't remember the day but I think it was last week before heading to Barrow. While in Barrow, I would completely loose track of the time so I wasn't able to get any pictures. It was incredibly quiet up there so I managed to get a ton of stuff done. I'm still debugging the "dial by name" feature as well as trying to figure out call forwarding. This has been a real challenge debugging these VoIP issues especially remotely. I looked at the CDR for the last couple of days and I must have made hundreds of calls (mostly to myself) testing and retesting. Actually fun and challenging.

Unfortunately, no exercise since the college is shut down and walking/jogging is really discouraged due to all the wildlife running around the area. I saw an arctic fox that I think is living under the NARL Hotel. There have been a lot of polar bear sightings but I didn't see any on this trip. I stayed in the same hut as the last two visits. No complaints at all.

Monday, December 15, 2008


I went skiing again this evening on the west ridge trails at the university. We had gotten quite a bit of fresh snow and, more importantly, it warmed up into the teens. I went to the T-field, which was past the lit trails. Because of the cloud cover, there was plenty of light reflecting from town to see the tracks so I went a couple of times around the field. I was tempted to go down the Baseline Winter Trail but reports of moose in the area convinced me otherwise. I did see two moose, a mother and a calf, in the middle of the Potato Field which is next to Smith Lake. It wasn't as warm as predicted by the weather guessers so I called it quits after about 8 miles. Maybe I should try skiing during daylight. Not that it's any warmer but at least you would be able to see the moose on the trails and more people are around. I do like the solitude but worry a bit about possibly injuring myself. The waxless skis were much slower in the fresh snow than my old pair but it was much less hassle. That's worth something. Tomorrow, I head back to Barrow for a couple more days to finish up some loose ends on the VoIP system. I think I've been spending about 90% of my work time on the Barrow project. Definitely not complaining. I really need to get the secondary sip proxy configured the same as the primary server. I made so many changes at one time on the primary that it is difficult to remember them all.

Monday, December 8, 2008

In Barrow

I'm back in Barrow again but this time I got to spend some time out away from the facility. This photo was taken on my phone all the way at the end of Cake Eater Rd about 10 mile SE of NARL. It was taken at near the brightest time of day facing to the south so you can see that no sunlight and only a little daylight can be found up here. It was also really cold with about a 25 knot wind. Cold enough that two pictures with the camera phone was enough to drive me back into the truck cab.

If you haven't eaten at Pepe's North of the Border in Barrow, you are missing out on an interior Christmas display without rival. There are a lot of lights here as well as a variety of other decorations. The restaurant serves primarily Mexican food and has been around for over 25 years. Pretty unique.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

I went XC-skiing for the first time this winter. The West Ridge trails are in good condition and the little bit of fresh snow that fell this morning was great. I used a pair of waxless skiis for the first time and they felt slower than the waxable ones but in my case, slower is good. I went on all of the lit trails a couple of times around and I'm guessing, covered at least 8 miles. I didn't have the gps with me so I'm guessing that I was averaging at least 4 mph for two hours. I know that I was going faster than I usually walk which is about 3.5 mph. Effort was pretty constant for the entire two hours which felt pretty good. I'm pretty sore now especially my right shoulder.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


A little chilly this morning on my walk down to the bus stop. I barely made it today as the bus arrived at about the same time that I did at the bottom of the hill. I had gotten so used to it being late that I didn't expect it for several more minutes. I was playing with a new reflective armband that I picked up at Fred Meyer yesterday. The battery looks like it is about dead even though this is the first time i used it. I guess someone was probably playing with it and turned it on through the package. A replacement battery is almost as much as the armband was to begin with...

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Open Source VoIP

There hasn't been a post for quite a while (3 weeks qualifies as quite a while) but I have been pretty busy. Also, I wasn't sure what to write about. The week before Thanksgiving was spent in Barrow working mostly on telephones. They now have a full-featured voice mail system on their VoIP phones. I'm using Openser (now Kamailio) as the SIP proxy, a Cisco router for the PSTN gateway, Polycom handsets and Asterisk to provide media services such as voice mail. All of the software is open source but are feature rich. I wish we had some of the features available on the phone system in Fairbanks such as emailed voice mail or web access to your voicemail box. On the other hand, there are some features that we take for granted that I haven't got working yet. (haven't figured how to do it yet). Last Wednesday, I finally got rudimentary CDR (call detail recording) set up. It has been a very challenging couple of weeks and very satisfying for me. I really enjoy learning something new.

No one at home was very enthusiastic about a traditional turkey dinner so I made a seafood paella. It came out okay but I overcooked the seafood which really just needed to be thawed and warmed up. I used a seafood mix from Sam's Club that contained shrimp, muscles, octopus, squid & fake crab. The octopus and squid were a bit tough and the fake crab was tasteless. The rice also came out mushy. Now that I know what goes in, I have a much better recipe developing in my head. I usually always follow the recipe closely the first time I make something. Maybe next weekend I'll try out my new, improved recipe. I always wanted to make something that needed saffron. I was pleasantly surprised when I found the expensive spice at Fred Meyers on sale.

Not much walking these days. On Wednesday, I ran instead of walked on three short walks. My WIN goal is still 45 minutes 3 times per week. So far, no problem meeting the goals. The lack of a UA walking program means no external motivation for more activity. I'm working on getting my 1000 mile virtual trophy on the Nike+ site but not actively engaged in any of the challenges. I received a one month pass to the Alaska Club for showing up to three WIN health sessions so I can play with some of their resistance equipment. I did use the equipment in Barrow at the college gym but I never feel like I get much exercise.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Tiring Week

There hasn't been an entry for over a week partly due to exhaustion. Last week, I attended the Educause conference in Orlando. Almost immediately after the conference was over, I headed to the airport. One flight to Seattle then another to Anchorage arriving around 2:30 AM. I tried getting some sleep in the terminal but they don't design their chairs to be comfortable. I then caught the 6:00 AM flight to Fairbanks. A very exhausting trip.

On Tuesday, a representative from Internet2 came to Fairbanks to perform a site visit. The main purpose was to take a look at the facilities at the University of Alaska. I am attempting to bring up the ESCC/Internet2 Joint Tech meeting to Fairbanks in the Summer of 2010. It's looking good. Yesterday and today were spent in an ITIL foundations class ending in an examination. Tests are always somewhat stressful. On top of all this activity, one of the boys needs to be at school at 6:30 in the morning. All in all, a tiring week.

As part of the WIN IHP, I agreed to start walking again on the treadmill for 45 minutes, three times per week. I haven't been doing much walking lately due, in part, to soreness in the back of my knee. It is pretty much gone so having no more excuses, I tried walking again last night. It felt good to be walking again. The gps gadget doesn't do any good while on the treadmill unless you get a $100 option which turns it into a $10 pedometer. I don't think so. At the Educause meeting, several vendors were handing out pedometers and one of them even had an area marked off to help adjust it. It was part of their "green theme". I saw a lot of people wearing them. At least I now have a couple of spares. I also wanted to start some sort of upper body program but I'm sort of at a loss on what way to go. We don't really have room for more equipment so if anyone has any suggestions...

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

BB King's Blues Club

Tonight, there was a Blackboard customer appreciation event here. A live band. Pretty good but very loud. Great barbecue ribs, lots of salads and grilled vegetables. I'm not sure how long I can deal with the high volume.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Freezing in Orlando

So much for the thought of warming up in Florida. I am attending Educause in Orlando, FL, and they seem to over-air condition everywhere. I am taking a seminar on Enterprise Architecture and I'm glad I brought a jacket. Others are suggesting bringing fuzzy slippers and blankets from the rooms. Even outside, it is in the low 60's. Last night, after arriving late, we went to a Greek restaurant with outdoor seating and by the end of dinner, it was getting pretty chili. There is an upside-down building just across the street from the hotel and I found this image on Google. Couldn't get a good picture on my cell phone. I'm not sure what it really is though someone said that they thought it was a restaurant.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Rider Visibility

Last week, while on the road trip, I noticed something while following motorcycles on the highway. In Oregon and northern California where there was a fair amount of dark green vegetation along the highways, I occasionally caught up with and followed a motorcycle whose rider was wearing black. I.e. black helmet & black leathers and occasionally riding on a mostly black bike. With the overcast skies, the chrome wasn't reflecting the sun very well and the itty bitty lights many bikes now have facing the rear were difficult to see in the flat light. There were many times that they pretty much vanished from sight due to the dark background. Obviously, this wasn't the case while crossing the desert, but even then, they tended to vanish from behind when they were following a darker, large vehicle. On the other hand, those wearing white helmets and especially those with high-viz clothing were very visible even with the flat light from overcast skies. When the sun was out, all of the specular reflections from the chrome that many cruisers have is pretty visible but then again, a lot of it isn't visible to the rear. Loud pipes don't help much until you are right on top of them and you usually see them by then anyway. Just an observation...

Thursday, October 23, 2008


On Tuesday, I had my appointment with a WIN consultant to do an IHP or an individualized health plan (or something like that). She helped me establish some long and short term goals such as reducing my BMI or body mass index. I.e. loose weight. I've been working on loosing weight for what seems like forever. My long term goal is to drop one category or roughly 20 lbs. Pretty ambitious but doable. Since April, I picked almost 10 lbs, I believe, just from reduced walking last summer. I think that I needed to keep up the same intensity instead of just the same distance. Last year, after walking 3 1/2 miles on the treadmill, I was dripping with sweat and pretty tired. Now, that same distance and speed barely raises my heart rate. I thought that calories burned was a function of distance not effort. I.e. walking 5 miles burned roughly 500 Calories or roughly the same as running 5 miles. Over the summer, I managed to average about 10 miles per day but there was very little effort required. In other words not much exertion since I maintained a normal walking pace. I guess the calories burned isn't the same. A short term goal is to jog twice a week and add more fresh vegetables to my diet. Also, I'm trying to take the bus every day so every morning, I walk to the bus stop then walk from Wood Center to Butrovich, and then reverse the path in the evening. I think it is about 3 1/2 miles. They also challenged me to eat a better breakfast. I usually just have a diabetic shake (200 Cal). More than filling since I'm never hungry in the morning.

I also stopped wearing my pedometer since all the "programs" are over. Slacking off again...

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Interesting Scooter

I noticed these at a used car dealer next door to the motel in Fresno. Basically a trike (two rear wheels and one front), 149 cc, 8.8 HP, and manufactured in China. They are still trying to figure out how to register them in California. No emissions certificate. They didn't have any other information and they have only been on the lot for two weeks. They can't sell them until they get the registration issues straightened out. Apparently, a dealer in Florida had managed to register them there. Anyway, very warm here with daytime temps approaching 90°F. We drove from Las Vegas to Fresno through Barstow and Bakersfield. Someone almost ran into us as they were passing a truck, double yellow line, and a whole long line of approaching traffic. They were driving down the center of the road pushing all traffic onto the shoulders. People around here seem to drive incredibly fast. I guess now that gas prices have gone down, people don't really care about conserving anymore. There was even several Toyota hybrids that blew by me. I didn't know a Prius would go that fast...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Manzanar Reunion

On Tuesday, we travelled through Death Valley to Las Vegas. I hadn't travelled on this particular route before and we went over three passes. The roads were pretty steep, narrow and wound all over the place. It would have been a great motorcycle ride. We came here so that my mom could attend a reunion (64th) of her high school class. The number of people coming kept getting smaller so they started combining it with other classes. Now it includes anyone who attended school in Manzanar. So it is now called the Manzanar School Reunion. There are a number of other Sansei's here like myself as well as some yonsei's. The park service gave an update and the founder of the Japanese American Museum in Los Angeles gave a talk. Pretty interesting history. I ended up getting an educators resource kit which has a number of DVD's as well as copies of their newspaper, and the poster used to advertise the evacuation. I still think that there is little mention of the internment in history books.

We didn't stop in Death Valley at all so no pictures. It was as pretty as I remember it and there were quite a few tourists stopped in the middle of the road taking pictures. No wildlife so I'm not sure what they were staring at.

Monday, October 13, 2008


Today, we made it to Lone Pine, CA, and stopped by the Manzanar National Historic Site which is run by the National Park Service. In case you didn't know, Manzanar was an internment camp where people of Japanese ancestry were moved to near the beginning of World War II supposedly for their own protection. Surprisingly, when they arrived, they noticed that the barbed wire and machine gun turrets were turned inwards. My mom and her family were internees. Since we are on the way to a Manzanar reunion, it seemed fitting to stop off at the camp especially since my parents had never been to the visitors center here since it opened. It is pretty similar to the Japanese American Museum that we had stopped at in Los Angeles last summer. This difference here is obviously the location. Many locations were marked with signs even though there is no trace of the original structures.

This is a monument located in the cemetery located at the western edge of the camp. Lone Pine Peak is behind the camp with Mt. Whitney to the northwest (not visible in this picture). A very scenic location if you are here for recreation but a very hot and dusty location in the summer and cold and windy in the winter if you aren't here by choice. It was pretty windy here today but a very nice 72°F.
This monument, the guard shacks, and the visitor center building are the only ones left from the original camp. I wasn't aware that Canada and Latin America had similar relocation programs in place during the war. In Canada, they weren't allowed back to the Pacific coast until 1949. If you are ever in the neighborhood, you should stop by Manzanar. You may be surprised at what you may learn.

On another note, the road from Bakersfield to Hwy 14 would have been a wonderful motorcycle ride as it wound all over the place through a canyon following the Kern River. Many 20 mph turns with a rock face on one side of the road and a drop off on the other. But this is supposed to be a blog about walking and exercise so I should mention that I have been a real slacker these days. Today, I walked only a couple of miles. I walked from one end of town to another this evening after dinner. I tried out a pedometer application on my iPhone and it worked really well. I knew the length of town from my gps while in the car and the step count matched it within a few percent. The only problem is the app needs to be running in the foreground and the display appears to stay on. Doesn't do much for battery life. I didn't bring my pedometer and didn't feel like breaking out the gps. Hopefully, tomorrow, my exercise pattern will improve.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

On the Road Again

Yesterday, I flew down to Oregon to accompany my parents to a Manzanar Internment camp reunion in Las Vegas. We are planning on stopping at the Manzanar National Historic Site located 9 miles north of Lone Pine on highway 395. Hopefully, there won't be any snow. Last year, there was a high school reunion, also in Las Vegas, and the National Park Service had a great presentation. I can't wait to see their visitors center.

Saturday evening - Corning, CA, nice drive with wonderful weather. We went a bit over 400 miles today. Just before stopping, we went past a semi along the side of the road with burning rear tires. Lots of black smoke and it was starting the grass and brush along the road burning as well.

Sunday evening - Bakersfield, CA, another beautiful weather day. At our hotel, there were a couple of these old trucks around. Probably on their way home from a show somewhere. Both were done as hot rods rather than restorations.

Drivers around here seem to go incredibly fast. I think they don't care what speed limits are nor care what gas costs. Also, I think turn signals are considered a courtesy and why would anyone go out of their way to be courteous. Trucks, on the other hand, seem to be obeying the speed limit which is a nice change from our trip this past summer. I saw lots of motorcycles with most of the cruisers and touring bikes riding intelligently. On the other hand, all (not some but ALL) of the sports bikes I saw were running well over the limit and weaving back and forth through traffic. Including vehicles that were already well in excess of the speed limit. Crazy...

Friday, October 10, 2008

Where's Broadmore, AK

I have one of the non-gps iPhones but still play with location based services. Today, I'm sitting in the Fairbanks airport and my phone reports that I'm in Broadmore, AK, when asked to update my location. This is a significant improvement over the last location update from Barrow, AK, when the phone placed me about 500 miles add of the west coast of Africa in the middle of the Atlantic. I think it was confused. The temperature next to the Arctic Ocean didn't feel tropical at all. Supposedly, they are using cell tower triangulation so maybe the system didn't know about Barrow.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Still Playing with the GPS

After registering the new gps on the Garmin site, there was a link to another site called MotionBased that you can log into using your MyGarmin credentials. You can also upload from the Forerunner to the site where you have access to much better maps (Google maps) and also the option of exporting directly into Google Earth, as can be seen in this screen capture. There are some serious limitations to the Lite version (free) such as you can only access your 10 most recent uploads and no totals or summaries are available. I'm a sucker for things like this so I'll try it out for a while. You also have access to look at tracks submitted by other members to discover new trails of routes in your area. The site isn't limited to running but also includes a number of bike rides.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

End of the Summer

Sunday morning brought snow to Fairbanks, enough snow to stick around for a while and get many roads, parking lots and driveways pretty icy. Enough snow to get me to reluctantly park the bike in the back of the garage for the winter. Most of the leaves are off the trees and it just feels like it is going to be a long, bleak winter. High fuel oil and electricity mean cost cutting all around. I was thinking of going for a longish walk yesterday evening but the roads in the subdivision were still pretty slick. They don't get enough traffic. This evening, there is a scout meeting at the university so between 5 and 7, I'm going to walk through the West Ridge trails ending up at Wood Center in time for the meeting. After all, I need to try out my new toy.

While I was in Barrow last week, a package was delivered to my office from the WIN for Alaska program with a wrist mounted gps. Too bad I didn't get it in time for the Equinox but I'm not complaining. It stores tracks (something I didn't expect) as well as report on distance, speed, heart rate, etc. so I'm looking forward to trying it out. You can then connect it to a computer to upload all of the information. I don't think it records elevation or at least I haven't found it yet. Pretty cool device, Thank you to the WIN program. I will probably still carry my Nike+ device since I still like to be able to compete in the challenges on their web site. I'm about 55 miles short of the 1000 mile mark. This is just on actual "exercise walks/runs" so it is less than half of my total walking for the year. The pedometer total for the past year is just over 6 million steps (~2,700 miles) so it is no wonder I keep wearing out shoes. Which reminds me, it's about that time again...

Tuesday afternoon - I went on a short walk during lunch and here is the type of data that gets stored on the device. Primarily, speed and location. I didn't try out the heart monitor since it was going to be a short walk. I'll try that out this evening.

The map is pretty minimal and even the main roads aren't located very accurately. The number of data points seemed pretty minimal but I attributed that to the memory on the device. The base map on the 305 is pretty low resolution but you do have the ability to create waypoints as well as follow your track back ala bread crumbs.

Just on a hunch, I tried out the Garmin Mapsource program that I have to use with my 60csx, and it recognized the Forerunner 305 just fine and uploaded the track. This is a screen capture from that program. As you can see, the maps are much more detailed and accurate and the track information does include elevation. So I think I will end up using both software tools with this new gadget. I forgot to grab my iPod so no comparative data from the Nike+ device.

This last screen capture shows the elevation from my short walk this afternoon. I'm not really sure why the plot isn't symmetric since I just walked out, turned around and headed back. All in all, a really cool gadget. Too bad winter is upon us...

Tuesday evening - Walked in the snow this evening to try out the new gps. My heart rate registers higher than I thought it was though my counting method is pretty approximate. Count beats for 6 seconds and multiply by 10. I did run some since my feet got wet from the fresh snow. Time for some non-mesh shoes. The Nike+ registered 4.33 miles and the gps registered 4.27. Close enough for me especially since I paused the gps when I went into Butrovich to pick up my medicine. There could have been 0.06 miles inside the building. The heart rate monitor is what I'm really interested in. Back when I used to bicycle a lot, I would use my heart rate to pace myself. I would try and maintain ~80% of max for my age for literally hours. I think I actually am doing about the same when I walk as well. Using the old age formula, max is about 172. I noticed that several times on my walk this evening I was up there and didn't feel like I was pushing myself that hard. I wonder if there are other ways to calculate this? I have an appointment next week at the clinic. Maybe I should bring it up.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Modern Art on the Beach

Today, after lunch, I remembered seeing this interesting sculpture near the beach in Barrow, right across from Arctic Pizza. There is a real nice boardwalk so you can easily walk out to it. It turns out to be a memorial to two Japanese individuals (assumed from the names) who died in a plane crash at that location. It is located a bit NW of the end of the runway so I am assuming it was either taking off or landing. Brad, the Barrow resident I do a lot of work with, remembered hearing about a charter that had crashed maybe five years ago so I would assume that it is the same event. Anyway, it is a very interesting, modern sculpture that just seemed a out of place here in Barrow. I noticed it the last time I was up here but didn't have a opportunity to walk out and see what it was or why it was there.

Friday morning - Yes, that is a light dusting of snow in the parking lot next to the NARL hotel. It is windy and cold this morning. I did get one phone problem figured out that was really bugging me so now my laptop soft phone works with the VoIP system I set up as well as other VoIP phones outside of the primary site. Hopefully, I can now expand the system throughout the rest of the facility.

Not much walking at all while I've been up here. Most days don't finish until about 9, then look for dinner (the really good Japanese restaurant up here is open again!) before heading back to the hotel. The NARL hotel, for those of you who haven't been up here before, is more like a dormitory than a hotel. I.e. bathrooms down the hall. Anyway, time to get moving....

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Slowly Recuperating (in Barrow)

I'm almost able to walk normally but still feel very stiff when I first get up from sitting still. The last time I was in Barrow was right after my 22 mile "training walk" and I was pretty sore then. Maybe I can just blame the aches and pains on Barrow and as opposed to being self-inflicted. There always seems to be a lot I want to get done whenever I'm up here and the days just seem to fly by. I did get some of network testing done last night and everything passed with flying colors. The next project is to get them off of RFC 1918 address space and get rid of the problematic appliance that has provided less than reliable networking for quite a while. Hopefully, we can remove the device this evening. Moving everyone to public address space will dramatically simplify support.

I was told that one sure fire way to get rid of the stiffness resulting from too much exercise is to just do more of the same. I did walk around the outside of the building a couple of times today and the soreness did go away while walking but returned pretty quickly after stopping. I guess I'm just not allowed to stop. There are still reports of polar bears in the area such as the one by the Barrow football field in a recent photo in the News Miner. I guess they were sort of trapped on the land when the sea ice retreated. I believe that they normally spend their summers on the sea ice and not on the land. Anyway, I'm not really inclined to take a long walk anywhere due to the bears (convenient excuse) and I'm wary of even doing much running around the NARL campus for the same reason.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Equinox Marathon

Well, today I completed the 2008 Equinox Marathon and it took me a long time. Not quite "red lantern" but close. The first third was not much different from my normal weekend walks except that much of the run is on trails so there were wet leaves covering slippery tree roots and mud on the trail. It is really amazing that folks can run over this terrain. In fact I lost my footing on one muddy, steep uphill section and went down very fast and hard on my right side. At 8 1/2 miles, the route starts to head up Ester Dome and continues 1800 ft up in the next four miles. I think the most challenging part came after that with a section called "out and back" which meanders up and down after reaching the summit for about four miles. This is also the half way point. You dread the downhills since they turn into uphills on the way back. This section was really cold, rainy and windy and I ended up wearing everything I brought to stay warm. After getting back to the summit, there is about a 1000 foot drop along a power line. Very steep with treacherous footing. This is followed by a wonderful walk through the woods towards Henderson Road. I remember skiing this part some 25 years ago and except for the initial steep drop, it was pretty nice. All in all, it was a good experience and I still had energy after getting to the end so I probably could have pushed myself. I really wanted to make sure I finished so no jogging at all. I probably could have jogged on the gradual downhill sections and could have cut down my time, but my goal was to finish and get the patch. I averaged 3 mph which is slower than I normally walk (3.5 mph) and my Nike+ indicated over 28 miles instead of 26.3 miles. I think that is because the shorter steps in the uphill and muddy sections. I'm glad I took some snacks as the food provided was pretty minimal. Right now, I am lying down with a heating pad due to a very sore back and leg muscles. The "training walk" I did 3 weeks ago didn't include the steep trails on Ester Dome since I just stayed on the road. I've always wanted to do the Equinox ever since I moved up here in 1982. I think it may have been easier for me back then when I was in my 20's. At least I wasn't the last person to come in. I think I should have tried a marathon without all the hills for my first one. I'm told that the Equinox is one of the toughest marathons in the country due to all the hills. The volunteers and other participants were very encouraging and to them, I say a very sincere "Thank you!".

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Rainy Day Walk

This morning brought a bit of rain but not enough to cancel the last WIN noontime walk for the summer. Three participants showed up with raingear to join the WIN consultant who showed up carrying a small beach umbrella. The WIN consultant handed out gift cards for Gulliver's book store for participating in the noontime walks. Thank you! Instead of the normal walk consisting of two short 25 minute walks, we went all the way to northern end of the "T" field before heading back to West Ridge. The rain stopped shortly after the walk started but the mud on the trail made for slippery footing. I hope that this isn't what I have to look forward to on Saturday. I ended up wearing my motorcyle boots since it was pretty wet so I wasn't able to try out the replacement Nike+ sensor. I guess that will have to wait until Saturday as well. I took a good look at the insoles in my walking shoes yesterday and they were really worn out. Pretty well compressed at the ball of my foot so I took the bike to the sporting goods store after work to pick up a new pair. I guess they last around 6 months or so based on the last couple of pairs I've had. They are the green Superfeet brand and can recommend them highly after using them for almost a year and a half. I think I have a bit over a thousand miles on this pair. I decided not to walk to the store due to the Equinox on Saturday.

I rode the bike to work this morning in spite of the rain and because of the humidity, I had to leave the visor cracked open to prevent it from fogging, so it was pretty chilly. I had to switch to reserve on the way in and was debating whether or not to get more gas. I need to overhaul the fuel petcocks this winter since one of them leaked a little a couple of weeks ago. I think it would be easier if I start out with an empty gas tank. Other maintenence tasks for this winter is changing all the fluids including the brake fluid, new throttle cables and springs, new clutch cable, grease the transmission splines, grease the rear axle splines, check the valves, maybe even pull the heads so the shop can check for valve recession, anti-sieze on the exhaust nuts, and maybe a thorough cleaning. After all, this is a 25 year old bike. I've learned a lot about it during the last 8 months and I would like to take a long trip next summer. Plenty to do this winter.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Quiet Sunday

Feeling better today but not much walking. I think that I've decided to take it real easy this week so I can push myself next Saturday. I did walk down to church this morning and even tried a bit of jogging. The good news, no more sore spots behind my left knee. I think I want to keep it that way for the rest of the week. I went for a short bike ride this evening and the bike felt a little squirrely. Almost like there were gusts of wind so I took it really easy. When I got back home I checked the tire pressure and the front tire was low. I guess I really should check it every day like they taught in the MSF class. It made a huge difference in the handling of the bike. I'm really going to miss riding once the snow arrives. I don't know why it is so addictive. I originally thought that maybe it would be like when you first learned to drive but a better analogy would be bicycling downhill with a tail wind. I also enjoy all the mechanical sounds from the engine and really enjoy curves in the road. I don't think it would matter the size of the bike as speed and acceleration aren't a significant part of the experience. At least not for me. I'm glad that the bike I did get has the carrying capacity to use for long distance touring. Maybe next Summer...

Saturday, September 13, 2008

20% & Chrome

Not feeling well at all and it's a Saturday. Can't get anything done and can't get any walking in either. I think that whatever this is has been sneaking up on me for a while. Last Wednesday during the noontime WIN walk, my heart rate was much higher than normal while going up some small hills. I thought that maybe I was going faster than usual but in reality, according to my Nike+ gadget, I was going a bit slower than usual. I have been tired for most of the week as well. But, for some reason, that felt "normal". In fact, yesterday morning, I met my middle son at the campus barbershop and chose to ride the shuttle bus to lower campus instead of simply walking. What's that all about. I don't think that has happened in a long time. Maybe I just to get more rest. I guess that ten hours of sleep last night wasn't enough. My left leg now feels fine but it seems foolish for me to go on another "training" walk and just do the race next week. I'm not trying for any record but would like to finish before their deadline which I think is 5:00pm. That's 9 hours. Right now, I fell like I'm about 20% of normal.

Currently, I am editing this entry using a beta of Google's new web browser called "chrome". It seems to run even faster than Firefox and hasn't crashed. I downloaded it from http://www.google.com/chrome and it is only available for Windows systems. No Mac or Linux version yet. Since I'm kind of stuck at home, I have a Windows machine available so I thought I would try it out. Supposedly, it is more suitable for things like web apps since each window or tab runs in it's own sandbox, so to speak. A problem in one tab will crash that tab and not cause the application to crash. If you were editing a document using Google Apps in one tab, a problem in another tab won't cause you to lose all of your work in another. At least that is how I think it's supposed to work. It seems to work fine on this site but then again this is Google's blog site. It would have been a huge surprise if there was a problem. I have been doing just about all of my posts in 2008 using my iPhone. Also, just about all of the photos are taken with the phone camera so using a regular keyboard almost feels odd.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

WIN Walk

There was a WIN noontime walk through the University ski trails today. There is no question that Fall is here as the leaves are now completely turned. The two 25 minute walks seemed pretty short but I'm still feeling it in my left leg. I keep wondering whether I should be exercising or sitting with ice on it. Stretching really helps and the WIN consultant stopped for stretch breaks three times during the walk. I also received some much appreciated advice from another participant who is an Equinox veteran. She suggested bringing food along and not relying completely on the stops provided by the event organizers. I was looking at the marathon route and I had covered a much of it on my walk two Saturdays back. I hope my leg feels better by next week. Maybe, no long walk this weekend.

Thursday Morning - Well, the weather guessers were wrong and it didn't snow here in Fairbanks. In fact it is still well above 50°F today though it did feel a bit chilly riding in this morning. There is a lot more traffic in the morning now that school is in session and since it is no longer bright and sunny, I no longer feel compelled to take the scenic route. I think it will soon be time to park the bike for the winter and move the truck back into the garage. I am planning on taking the bus in whenever possible, not because the truck gets terrible mileage but more because short trips aren't very good for the long term life of the engine. It doesn't even get close to warming up in the summer let alone the rest of the year.

Monday, September 8, 2008

This evening was a beautiful time to ride. I needed to run some errands so, I took the bike. Last week when I took a long walk, I noticed that cotton socks were a poor choice for walking all day. Years ago, I used to use polypro socks when I went hiking and they worked great so I stopped at a local sporting goods store to find some. I, initially, got a blank look from the clerk when I described what I was looking for but we eventually found what I was looking for. Nothing more uncomfortable while walking than wet feet. I think what is sore after walking is the hamstring on my left leg. When I do a hamstring stretch, I can really feel it.

I had to pick up a prescription at FM and the route from Beaver Sports to East Fred Meyer seemed to run through Chena Ridge. I almost dropped the bike at an intersection because I was still braking the front wheel with the bars turned. The bars then want to turn to full lock and the bike leans rapidly in the direction the bars are turned. This is the same thing I've done before both in the class last year and at the beginning of the summer. Earlier, it resulted in me dropping the bike at an intersection after stopping. Embarrasing. Now, I'm able to easily catch the bike but I need to stop doing it. More slow speed practice needed.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Fall's Here

It looks like Fall is here. I was hoping for a little more Summer so I can ride my bike but, unfortunately, I think my riding days are numbered. I went for a walk today after church since it felt so warm. It was overcast but after being in Barrow for the last week, it seemed pretty warm. I was tempted to ride the bike to church just so I would be able to go for a ride afterwards but thought I really needed to get in some exercise. I've slacked off on any sort of exercise during this last week. After my long walk last Saturday, the back of my knees were sore for the next couple of days. I've walked more than that distance before many times but last week's walk was the first time I really went looking for hills. In fact, I went up just about every hill I could find. Some of them more than once. Let me tell you, hills makes a BIG difference. Fortunately, BASC wasn't really busy, so I was able to use one of their vehicles. It made things much easier. When I left Fairbanks last week, there were only a few leaves that were just starting to turn. Now, there are only a few leaves that are still green. At the higher elevations, the leaves are completely turned. The picture is taken on the upper portion of Eton Blvd. where just about all of the leaves have turned.

Sunday Evening - After the relatively short walk this afternoon, the back of my knee is sore again. I hope I didn't injure myself. Maybe I need to stretch more after walking. I'm really bad about that. Usually, there is something else I need to do so I don't do any stretching. There has been a great series on the science channel (103 on GCI) on physics. It has been great. I have also been watching "The Long Way Down". This is about two guys riding BMW R12GS's from Scotland to the tip of South Africa.Pretty good show. I think that I like their first series "The Long Way 'Round" better. Maybe because they went through Fairbanks on that trip so there is some connection. Anyway, great shows.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Still Dreary

As you can see, it is still overcast here in Barrow. The whale bone arch is in town, just outside a Korean/American restaurant called Browers. Pretty good food and they even had home made ice cream. The Arctic Ocean can be seen in the background and there are very few waves and tides are almost non-existent.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Dreary Weather

As you can see, the weather here in Barrow is rather dreary. This is the view to the west (towards town) from the Barrow Arctic Science Center a.k.a. BARC. I thought about going for some walks in the evening since it isn't too cold yet but one of the cooks in the college kitchen said that there were sixteen polar bear sightings around the NARL campus in the last month. Apparantly, these were bears that missed getting to the sea ice before it retreated from shore. I'm told that the ice edge is now several hundred miles away from Barrow.

The college used to generously share their gym with BASC but no longer since the BASC affiliated folks didn't seem to clean up after themselves a couple of times after using their facilities. Too bad. But then again, the last time I used the gym, the treadmill was still broken.

I still haven't finished working on the BARC phone system. I needed to modify the dialing plan to be a little more consistent. Yes, I could have made the change from Fairbanks but I wouldn't be able to test it. I don't want to make that kind of a change on a production system without being here. I'm not sure why but everything always seems to take extra long around here. I did get the NDT server up and running so we can measure network performance and throughput. Complaints about the network up here are common but it usually turns out to be the setup of the PC or laptop. I've read on the Internet that Mac 10.5 automatically changes your TCP window size for the speed and latency of the connection but Windows still needs manual optimization. At least for now. We now have a way of testing the performance of the network using a set of standardized tools.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Nice Bike Ride

Since I was heading to Barrow this afternoon, I needed to pick up my laptop from my office at the University. I took the bike and for some reason, the trip to the University got longer than usual. I took Ballaine Road to Goldstream to the University. After picking up the stuff that I had forgotten, I went to the gas station to fill up the bike. Then headed towards the Parks Highway lookout at the top of the hill just past Ester before heading back towards town on the Old Nenana Highway. There is still a lot of road damage on some sections of that road in spite of a lot of repairs being done this summer. I then headed back down Goldstream Road towards home. All in all, about 60 miles. Not real far but enough to get rid of the cobwebs. I'm not sure how many more riding days there are going to be. I thought that this may be my last chance for the summer. Winter seems to be coming quicker than usual this year. In fact, when I checked the weather at 7:00am this morning, it was below freezing. I definitely don't want to be on the road when there is a possibility of ice. I saw a couple of other bikes out including one of the "last edition" white, BMW R100RT's. I think those were made in 1984 which makes it just one year newer than mine. I wish that I had more time to ride this summer but I guess that is the price for taking a one month road trip in the middle of the summer.

Barrow is also just barely above freezing this evening. In addition, it is a bit windy. When the plane was coming in, there was a layer of clouds as far as you can see in all directions. The pilot announced that Barrow was overcast with 1000' ceilings. I was told that the weather was going to stay this way for the rest of the week. My favorite Japanese restaurant was closed this evening probably because of the holiday, but Sam & Lee's had excellent Cantonese dishes. There is a lot of things that I need to get done while I'm here. I haven't been here since the end of June. I'm glad that the phone system ran without any problems, at least none that I am aware of.

I have received a number of emails asking what I thought of the choice of Sarah Palin for Vice-President. I believe that she has been doing a phenomenal job as the governor of the state, specifically, dealing with the gas pipeline and some of the ethics "issues" which seem to plague our congressional delegation but I also believe that she does not have enough experience at this point in time. Plus, I don't think much of her running mate. I think that win/lose would be good for the state of Alaska.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Beautiful Day for a Long Walk

A couple of days ago, I (foolishly) signed up to do the Equinox Marathon. So today, I thought a long walk was in order. This was partly to see if I would be able to finish and since I'm heading up to Barrow in a couple of days, I needed to get in a good, long walk. I've have also wanted to do this route since the beginning of the summer. In the morning fog, I headed into the next subdivision, went by the strawberry farm to Ballaine Road. I headed up and over the hill into the Goldstream valley. I then headed west towards the university. On this leg, the fog burned off leaving beautiful blue skies with a few fluffy clouds. I found myself at On's Eggroll House around lunch time so I had to stop. After some wonderfully tasty Thai food, I continued on towards the university. I headed up Miller Hill towards the Muskox Farm then headed towards Pearl Creek School then back home on one of my favorite roads, Eton Blvd. All in all, I covered 22 miles so I believe that I would be able to finish the race. I think I need to finish in under 8 hours or something like that. I will need to push myself as my feet are a bit sore. I think I need some better socks that wick moisture to the outer pair. I will be happy to just finish as the Equinox has the reputation of being one of the toughest marathons around.

The iPod battery easily lasted the whole trip today but I did receive notice that I need to order a new sensor. They seem to last about six months before the battery needs replacing. I guess that I could probably get the battery to last longer by removing the sensor from my shoe but I don't think that it is worth the hassle. I stopped for a rest and to take a photo at the Large Animal Research Station a.k.a. the Muskox Farm. Very quiet and relaxing place. If this was a good day for a long walk, then maybe tomorrow would be a good day for a nice long ride. I'm running out of riding days!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Fall Weather

Three of us showed up at noon for an unofficial WIN walk. We headed onto the West Ridge ski trails to the "T" field before heading back. On the way back, I decided to head down to lower campus on the Baseline trail and was pleasantly surprised to see a lot of work being done on the trail. It has been difficult to walk on especially with all the rain this summer. Many of the really wet areas now has landscaping fabric with lots of wood chips on top. They are doing a great job getting the trail more useable in the Spring & Summer. Anyway, I followed the trail all the way to Ballaine Lake before heading back to Wood Center to grab some lunch. Just a bit under 6 miles with an average speed of 3.8 mph. Nice walk, beautiful weather and dry feet. Not much to complain about. This evening, I needed to run some errands so I tacked a nice bike ride on at the end. There was a little bit of rain but I had a great ride. I'm not looking forward to putting the bike in storage again. Riding has been a wonderful diversion and I should have done this years ago. I need to head up to Barrow next week so no riding then. Hopefully, it will stay warm for a little while longer so I can get in a few more rides this year.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Soloed! & the Equinox

A pretty uneventful weekend. I managed getting in my 10k steps per day last week but fell short on the 10 miles per day that I was doing at the beginning of the summer. Not enough time for walking nor riding. It seems like there are very few riding days left this summer so I had wanted to take advantage of the good weather but there were too many other things to do. Kind of depressing, no riding at all. The minivan is in the shop this morning to get an oil change (actually, to get rid of a "maint req" light that has been on since we headed back to Alaska last month). There was little opportunity to have the oil changed in Canada due to time constraints. Better late than never. I also received a call that the Kia wouldn't start and is sitting the Hutch parking lot. I hope it is just the case of the clutch not being pressed all the way to the floor. That will be my next stop this busy morning. My first stop was the dentist for a checkup. I probably should go in more frequently than every seven years. They gave me a hard time about that but no problems. So I didn't get to ride today either.

Monday afternoon - The clutch switch was the culprit. I stopped, removed the floormat that seemed to limit the movement of the clutch pedal and it started right up. No problem. I dropped of the minivan with my wife and left instructions for my son to pick me up at the university this evening. He "soloed" today.

Monday evening - I decided to walk home this evening and since I had wondered how to get from the West Ridge ski trails to Yankovich Road, this seemed like a good opportunity. It was a beautiful evening for a walk and I made the 10 mile goal for the day. The "scenic route" ended up being over 9 miles all by itself. During my evening walk, I decided to walk the Equinox Marathon next month. I've walked the distance before but have never even considered trying the actual event. This should be interesting. I hope I'm not biting off more than I can chew considering my slacking off lately. I've noticed that hills aren't slowing me down much so this may be a good time to try this event.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Evening Walk

This evening, I went for a nice long walk. The weather was wonderful, blue skies from horizon to horizon, about 65°F, and a few clouds. Anyway, I started up the hill then cut over to the next subdivision on a trail, walked by Pearl Creek School, across Ballaine to Yankovich. At this point, I debated on whether to jump onto the ski trails and head up to West Ridge before heading home but decided to just head down Yankovich towards the golf course. Then just headed down the bike path back home. My iPod battery died at about 7 miles so the Nike+ gadget stopped recording at that point. While walking, I received an email message from the WIN program that I had accumulated enough points in the last six months to get a wearable gps. Pretty cool! I like gadgets. From what I've read on my phone (while walking), it uses the gps to measure your distance and speed as well as recording your heart rate while walking/running/biking. Too bad it won't get here before the summer runs out. All this exercise and eating well pays off in other ways besides better health. Anyway, I went about 10 miles on this evening walk and feel great. All this walking takes so much time. I feel a real need to go for a long walk tomorrow but unfortunately, I have tasks to do at home. Hang additional rain gutters, put away the camping gear and who knows what else. One of the boys in my son's Boy Scout troop is getting his Eagle tomorrow so I definitely want to go to that.

Speaking of my son, I took him to the DMV today to get his license. He passed the driving test yesterday at Cherokee Riders so all he had to do was turn in the test results and get his picture taken. It was much more convenient than trying to schedule a test at the DMV. After the test, he said that he thought that he could have taken the test in the Kia (manual) instead of the minivan (automatic). Pretty good considering he just learned how to parallel park at the beginning of this week.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Botanical Garden

This evening was a Boy Scout meeting and they worked on a service project. Planting a bunch of tiny plants along the fences of a maze that will eventually grow into hedges. It was a beautiful evening for a walk so I took advantage of the opportunity to get in some steps. It really started getting cool once the sun started to set. I guess Fall is just around the corner. Anyway, I got in over 10k steps during the meeting walking around on the West Ridge ski trails and through the walkways in the botanical garden. If you haven't been here, this is a beautiful location to wander around in. There are plenty of walkways, giant cabbages, flowers, etc. plus, it is right next to the ski trails. Last weeks WIN walk went through the gardens as well. This was a nice change from waiting at the DMV. Yesterday evening, we picked up an old Kia Sportage so today I took it to get an emissions test and got the title transferred. Sounds like fun, eh....

Sunday, August 17, 2008

since getting back from my vacation, I've been trying to get back into walking again. It has proven to be difficult. Over the last week, I've only managed to walk about 13k steps per day. I just haven't felt like going for a long walk. Right now, all I feel like doing is sleeping. I haven't done any running this month (yet) nor gone on any long walks. The good news is that the month is only half over. I have been keeping track the items in the WIN point program so I believe that I've been able to still eat healthy. Still can't get myself to do some of the back exercises nor the "think positive thoughts" or whatever it is.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Solar Electric Car Demo

The developer/driver and the support team of this solar car, stopped by the CCHRC near the university this morning and there was a presentation and question & answer session. Their website is www.xof1.com. They started out in Buffalo, NY, and drove up the Dempster Highway to Inuvik before heading into Alaska. The solar array produces 800 watts and the vehicle has a top speed of about 75 mph. It is licensed in Barbados. They are now headed back.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

WIN Walk

Today was the first WIN Walk of this summer that I went on. I think they started a couple of weeks ago here in Fairbanks. The first walk started out toward the ski trails then wandered down to the Botanical Gardens. After much zig-zagging through the flowers, we headed back up the hill to the starting point. The second walk was down to Smith Lake and back along the ski trails. Total distance for both walks was 3.57 miles. I need to work my way back up to 10 miles a day again after being on vacation. Except for a couple of runs on the treadmill and walks along the beach, I've gotten pretty lax. I still took every opportunity to walk but most of my days were right around 10k steps except for a couple of days when I went over 20 miles. Not quite a marathon but getting close.

I'm really enjoying being back on the motorbike after the road trip. I really want to ride down to the lower 48 sometime. Maybe next summer since there is another reunion on the other side of the family. Yesterday, I had some errands to run at lunch time so I ended up riding a lot in town instead of my normal skirting around Fairbanks. Not as much fun in traffic but still much better than driving. There is still a lot of road work and the loose gravel on the roads definitely get my attention. Especially after not having ridden for a month.

In Canada, I noticed a lot of businesses with this sign prominently posted near their front doors. I saw a lot of bikes on the road this summer and it seemed like a lot more than I have seen on other trips. South of Prince George, Harleys and other cruisers dominated but north of there, it was pretty much BMW's, Honda Goldwings and Harley's. Very few of any other brands. A lot of the BMW's were the dual-sport GS's designed for someone traveling around the world with a lot of dirt roads. Right now, the Alaska Highway only had about 10 miles of un-paved road and these were all construction areas. I even saw a couple of old Airheads like I have on Alcan. Next summer...

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Home again

We arrived back home after a somewhat leisurely trip through Canada. We left L.A. on Saturday afternoon then
Sat - Coalinga, CA
Sun - Medford, OR
Mon - Corvallis, OR
Tues - Hope, BC
Wed - Hixon, BC
Thurs - Sikanni River, BC
Fri - Watson Lake, YT
Sat - Beaver Creek, YT
Sun - Fairbanks, AK

For me, this is pretty slow. There were no 600+ mile days and plenty of stops. Probably not enough for everybody but not a whole lot of complaints either. When we arrived back home, I wanted to turn around and do it again. Some people have asked how it compared to flying down and renting a car. Even with the higher gas prices, it is still a bit cheaper for four of us to drive than it would have been to fly then rent a minivan. Plus, you have much more flexibility (adventure?). Another observation is that GPS's are great even if you know where you're going. Information such as projected arrival time is great to have and the turn-by-turn in places like L.A. was wonderful. Oh yes, almost no rain until reaching home.

Some stats from the trip:
Distance - 7051 miles
Average gas mileage - 21.8 (20.1 - 24.9)
Highest gas price - $1.62 per liter in Whitehorse in July
Lowest gas price - $3.64 per gallon in southern Oregon

Friday, August 8, 2008

Made it to Watson Lake, Y.T. today. Still have about 800 some miles to go but it was a convenient place to stop. After camping out the last three nights, it's nice to stay in a hotel for a change. Saw buffalo on the side of the road so it seemed appropriate to have a buffalo burger for dinner. Very little walking again today. This may be my lowest step count week since the current challenge began. Oh well. It has really been pleasant since passing through Prince George, B.C. and many times today, there were many times when 10 minutes go by before seeing another vehicle. And the scenery is wonderful. Muncho Lake is one of my favorite places along this route.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Hell's Gate

Today, we stopped here and took the aeriel team down to the river. At this point, 200,000,000 (yes, 200 million) gallons of water per minute flow through this 120 foot wide gap. We got as far as Hixon, B.C. today. I think that this was the third time I've taken the tram and I've enjoyed it every time though it is a bit expensive. Hardly any walking in today as will be the rest of the week. About 1800 miles to go.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Well, getting ready to head out of L.A. now that the reunion is over. I'm not sure how far north we'll get but we probably not truly get out of town until after 4:00 this afternoon. I had kinda forgotten how big the Los Angeles basin really was. Yesterday, we went to the Japanese American Museum in "Little Tokyo" which is right in the downtown area. While in the area, we also went to Phillipe's the originator of the French Dip sandwich and wandered through Olvera Street which is filled with street vendors and shops like in Mexico. It was fun though the traffic was a bear.

Saturday evening - We made it to Coalinga, CA, this evening in the central valley of California. It is really warm here with daytime temperatures of over 100°F. Hopefully, we can make it up to around Medford tomorrow then up to Corvallis, OR, by Monday afternoon. Very little walking today though I did manage to average over 10k per day during the reunion. I've started just entering the totals for the week on the Startwalking site though I have been trying to keep daily mileage totals for the WIN site. Eating has been more of a problem due to lots of restaurant food. I've been trying to stick to vegetarian dishes since these dishes allow me to meet my goals for vegetable and nut servings and many use whole grains as well. My medication still limits the volume of food (side effect) so I also get fewer calories as well. For me, this is good.

Sunday evening - We made it to Medford this afternoon and are staying with good friends.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Bolsa Chica

Finally, got in some exercise. A group of family members went to the Bolsa Chica Wetlands Restoration project and walked 4.25 miles. In fact, I even got in a little bit of running. Not enough to make 50 miles this month, but some none the less. I just entered my activities on the WIN website and I'm not sure what my totals are but they seem pretty high. I wasn't able to average 10 miles per day this month but at least it was well over 10k steps per day. The healthy eating has been a real challenge, especially on the road trip portion of the month. Lots of salads, vegetables & whole grains.

Back to my original topic. The wetlands was a nice relaxing place in spite of being located next to PCH (Pacific Coast Highway) just north of Huntington Beach. There were a lot of birds including lots of egrets which I think look kind of cool especially when they are gliding. What made the walk really fun was that it was another opportunity to visit with all my relatives. This evening is a banquet with the obligatory group photos and more time to visit.

Wednesday evening - Too much food! After the hike, we met at my cousins home and we tried to finish off some of the food from previous days. This was just a couple of hours before a banquet at a local country club. I requested the veggie plate since I thought I had a chance of finishing it. After dinner, we watched a photo show made from old and current photos of family members. It was very well done. Then there were the pictures followed by going back to my cousins home to have coffee. Their son showed a DVD that he made as a helicopter pilot in the Navy. We were also able to print out 29 copies of the biographies to distribute.

Knott's Berry Farm and Earthquakes

Spent most of the day here and walked over 10 miles within the park. Lots of roller coasters but the only one I was interested in was Ghost Rider, the large wooden coaster. All of the rides in the park were shut down for a couple of hours after the earthquake but it wasn't anything major. The attendance dropped as a number of people left, I assume to check things out at their homes or businesses. We stayed there for the full 12 hours the park was open and I was exhausted even though I didn't go on many attractions.

Today, the reunion continues, after yesterdays free day, with a walk at the wetlands near Bolsa Chica. Should be nice. At least I'm getting more exercise in while I'm here. Yesterdays steps were more just a stroll throughout the day than real exercise but I guess the calorie consumption is about the same.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Huntington Beach

We had breakfast at Ruby's Cafe at the end of the pier at Huntington Beach. There were lots of surfers and life guard trainees. Breakfast was great. Lots of relatives and good food. What else could you ask for.

Monday evening - we had a picnic at Bolsa Chica State Beach. Great time, as usual and too much food (also as usual) and ended with a fire on the beach kind of like I remembered while growing up. It was cool and windy on the beach but everyone seemed to have a great time.

Sunday, July 27, 2008


This evening marks the beginning of the Machida family reunion here in Huntington Beach. It scheduled to run from today through Thursday afternoon with a variety of activities planned including barbecues, picnics, dinners, etc. The organizers are two of the Yonsei's (4th generation) and it looks like a full schedule. We've been looking forward to this for quite a while. This afternoon, we went to a local Japanese store and picked up a lot of weird candy to put into small, Chinese take-out boxes that my daughter inlaw stamped with the Machida family crest (or Mon I think). In addition, we picked up a small, butane burner that we'll try out on the trip home. It should work better than the micro-Coleman stove we used on the way down.

Friday, July 25, 2008

This morning, I flew from Nebraska to Fresno, CA, through Denver. I had to leave for the airport at 5:00 this morning but at least I arrived here around 10:30 this morning. Pretty nice hotel that I found on hotels.com for a fairly good price. It is very warm here but I did get my laundry done while sitting around the pool. Can't complain about that. Everyone else is arriving around 4 o'clock or so. Then we head for the Machida family reunion in Huntington Beach tomorrow morning. Should be fun.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

SAC Museum

This afternoon, there was some free time so I went with Karl from LSU to the Strategic Air & Space Museum. It is located about 20 miles east of Lincoln towards Omaha. Very nice place, all indoors so it is air conditioned. This is a picture of an SR-71 hanging in the entryway. Other planes in the museum were B-1A, B-51, B-17, B-36 and many more. Most were in pretty good condition but were in the process of being restored. Also in the process of being restored was a B-29 and a T-29. These planes seemed phenomenally large but that may only be because you can walk right up to them, walk underneath them, and poke your head into some of the compartments such as the bomb bays.

I didn't get to spend a lot of time in the museum as they closed at 5, but got a good look around at all of the planes. There were also a couple of missiles standing up outside as well as a lot of other memorabilia associated with the cold war. I didn't even know that the SAC was located in Nebraska.

I didn't get much walking in today except walking around the museum and the round trip to the University. Since I have to leave for the airport at something like 5:00am, I don't think I will be running on the treadmill this evening. Fortunately, I have been able to eat pretty lightly with many vegetarian meals (mostly dinner). Breakfast has, unfortunately, been too much food since it is a buffet. Just like the Holiday Inn commercials mention, the food is pretty good and I end up cleaning my plate even though I'm not hungry.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


This morning was somewhat cool again so I walked to the university again. I didn't go running this morning so this evening after dinner (had spicy seafood at a nice Thai restaurant), I went for a short run. Not enough to get excited about, but enough to tire me out. I am still going to make the 50 mile per month goal but just barely. I did my presentation this morning and at the end showed a picture of Fairbanks from last February when it was -45°F noting that they made the right decision to not try and schedule the meeting in the winter. Then I showed a picture of Fairbanks that I took from a hot air balloon a couple of years ago. Much better response. Maybe there is a chance that the meeting could happen in Fairbanks in a couple of years. That would be good for the university.

The Joint Tech meeting finished at noon today and was followed by a meeting of the IPv6 working group then a meeting to examine the content and direction for the IPv6 workshops. That meeting continues tomorrow. The working group sponsored a challenge to see how many people could get their laptops talking on IPv6. I think the final number was 134 out of 201 got it done. Pretty cool...

Monday, July 21, 2008

Fountain in front of the Student Union

This summer, the ESCC/Internet2 Joint Tech meeting is being held on the campus of the University of Nebraska - Lincoln. Unlike many other universities, it is located right in town so it is an easy walk to a lot of places. I walked to and from the campus and though it isn't really hot, it is very humid. Tonight, there is a JET meeting at 8:15 so maybe I'll look for dinner around 7:00 or so. Supposedly, there is a good Thai restaurant nearby.

Tuesday afternoon - Ended up at a Connectors BoF then went and had a bowl of Spaghetti. This morning, I got up early and walked about 4 miles since it felt cooler and dryer at 6 in the morning. I guess this weather is a little unusual for here at this time of the year. I'm told that normally it is much drier.

There is some frustration whenever I attend one of these meetings since there are many talks on DCN (Dynamic Circuit Network) and there is, currently, no way for UAF to participate. I guess part of it is demand. Most of the schools have researchers on their campus that had a real need and, as far as I know, that demand doesn't exist at UAF. Part of this may because the capability has never existed in the past. Another part of the problem is the lack of communication channels between organized research and central computing.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Cornhuskers Stadium

Miserably hot and humid here in Lincoln. I have a great view of the University of Nebraska - Lincoln stadium (I think) from my hotel room. As you can see, it is really clear and sunny. Supposedly, it is just a short walk from the hotel to the auditorium on the university campus so I should get some walking in this week in spite of the weather.

I just started working on a presentation that I am scheduled to give on Wednesday morning about the review of our network by a couple of network engineers from other universities. Relatively short, only six slides so far. But then again, I've just started.

Later in that evening - I walked around the area and it really is hot and sticky here. Maybe I'll take the bus in the morning just to avoid the weather. I had a wonderful dinner (vegetable curry and naan) at an Indian restaurant located only a block from the hotel. Tried out the exercise room at the hotel and ran two miles in air conditioned comfort. Did I mention that it is way hot here!

On the way to Lincoln, NE

This is Mt. St. Helens taken near the beginning of my flight from Seattle, WA, to Lincoln, NE. I'm going there for an Internet2 Joint Tech meeting and yes, this is in the middle of my vacation. The rest of the family is headed to Oregon and I will meet up with them in the California just before a Machida family reunion in Huntington Beach. Supposedly, I'm doing a presentation but it isn't listed on the last agenda I received by email. I'll see when I get there. I'm writing this from the Denver airport during a short layover. Since this is a blog on walking, I probably should say something about that. Since we've been on the road, I've gotten very little walking in. Need a treadmill in the car (hmm, sounds like a Flintstone vehicle) or something but only 10k steps for the week. I'm walking around the Denver airport but it isn't the same. I feel like a real slacker...

Thursday, July 17, 2008

On the road

Day 1: Fairbanks to Tok Junction. Lots of motorcycles. I don't know if there really are a lot more or I'm just more aware of them. There are also quite a few RV's though not as many as previous trips.

Day 2: Tok Junction to Swift River, YT. Gas is $1.52/l or just a bit more than it is in Fairbanks. Camping out with lots of mosquitos. As usual, this section of the trip was absolutely beautiful. There was a little bit of road construction but less than previous years. The section along Kluane Lake was really improved though they moved the road away from the lake in many sections.

Day 3: Swift River, YT to Fort St. John, BC. Gas price hasn't changed. We saw lots of animals. (Black bear, stone sheep, caribou, bison, swans). It was a long day with over 1000 km covered.

Day 4: Fort St. John to Clinton, BC. Saw several deer near the Peace River. Shorter day than yesterday, ~800 km. Lots of traffic after going through Prince George. The traffic was moving very quickly and I was feeling "pushed along". Not as nice as the northern part of the trip. Clinton is a very nice, small town and the campground at the south end of town was great. Kind of odd to see it get dark so early in the evening.

Day 5: Clinton, BC to Seattle, WA. No wildlife unless you include drivers in Seattle. Today was only about 360 miles but it was a really long wait at the border. Gas price stated high all the way into Washington. The cheapest gas through Canada was in Haines Junction at $1.42/liter. Almost everywhere else was over $1.55/liter.

The scenery was gorgeous, as usual. I really enjoy driving through Canada, especially the northern section. Once I get past Prince George, it is less fun. Too much traffic.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Headwaters of the Missouri

The meeting was over yesterday mid-afternoon and one of the other engineers was going to the headwaters of the Missouri River to look around. It sounded interesting enough and he didn't mind me tagging along. We went to a state park around 30 miles west of Bozeman and there were trails up and down some hills overlooking the confluence of three rivers, the Jefferson, the Madison and the Gallatin. These form the Missouri River which heads north from there before winding south in eastern Montana. I hiked on the trails though it did feel pretty warm. I took some pictures but there isn't a way to post pictures directly from my phone without downloading to my computer first. Afterwards, met with some network engineers from Minnesota, Wisconsin and North Dakota for dinner. We found a small, local place which had great food.

Yesterday, I updated the firmware on my iPhone to version 2. I have been waiting for this as it has the ability to add third party applications which could significantly improve the device. The app support is what I missed after switching from my Treo. So far, so good. No crashes but it may be awhile before the apps I want are available. Well, almost time to board.

Update - i found open wireless at the end of concourse "B" in the Seattle airport so I uploaded a picture I took yesterday. It is the Gallatin River just before the confluence.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Bozeman, MT

I'm attending the summer meeting of the Northern Tier in Bozeman, MT. It is a very pretty area this time of year. I'm told that this is their 6 weeks of green. After that, everything is a bit dried out and I would assume, no longer green. It was really warm this afternoon when I arrived but I did get some walking in today. There was the now normal walking the concourses at the Seattle airport for a couple of hours between flights as well as walking around the airport here in MT while waiting for the hotel shuttle. The hotel has a real nice exercise room so I plan on using that tomorrow morning before the meetings start. Originally, I was planning on walking from the airport to the hotel since it is only about 8 miles but it was really hot plus there was some sort of reception this evening so I went ahead and called for the shuttle.

I started only entering my steps at the end of the week since finishing Startwalking IV. Still haven't requested my certificate yet, maybe lack of motivation. I really have to do a little more running this month. Over the last couple of months, the amount of running has been steadily decreasing. I guess I just like the cooler weather. I've noticed my WIN points have been steadily decreasing with each passing month. Maybe I should look at what the monthly goals are and see how I am doing.

Thursday Evening - I used the treadmill this evening to run a bit over 5 miles. I walked a couple of miles this morning before it got too warm but it was too hot this evening to do much outside.