Nelson Road rock slide

It was a warm sunny afternoon after two weeks of drenching rain, mudslides and power outages. Fred stopped by and we headed out on the Rino ATV to survey the mother of all slides – Nelson Road. After about 30 minutes of dirt and paved roads we reached the slide. If the slide were not cool enough what we found directly at it’s epicenter was even more startling.

 

Alpacas. The rock slide, about 100 yards wide ran right up to the back fence of their farm yard. Fred learned the owners bought them as a business venture but had to sell them after the slide. The owners said the Alpacas were timidly by nature and liked to use their long yellow tongues to spit at each other.

Checking out the huge rock slide and the Alpaca encounter made for a pretty fun afternoon adventure.

 

Nelson Road rock slide

Cinderella story

I was pretty happy that VCU even made it into the NCAA tournament much less made it to the final four!!! This has been an incredible team to watch. They are the utimate underdogs that nobody gave a chance much less bet money on – sorry for the upsets.

Thank you Rams for playing beyond your ability and for standing tall against a lot of taller guys. Everybody knows who VCU is now!!

Go RAMS!!!!

Cinderella story

Power down

It has been raining for two weeks straight. The hills sides are now wet several feet down. With heavy storms coming off the pacific, Santa Cruz has been mud slide city. It started early last week when the back side of this ridge decided to slide down and obliterate the road below. It was a huge slide that will take weeks to clear. My unlucky neighbors have to park a mile and down the road from their house, which is a real hassle with groceries and such.

On Thursday my road was blocked by a slide that took out power (including the poles) for twenty-four hours. Twenty-four hours later, it happen again at the same place – with another pole down and power outage. Not a big deal, I’m happy the worst appears to be over. Its great to have the rain.

Power down

Ice indicators

I have been lucky, I have been fortunate to travel over 500,000+ miles in the air over the past twenty-five years. Traveling has always been a part of me. From leaving home at 13 to goto boarding school, to driving across the USA to live in California. Work has taken me even further, Europe 20+ times, Asia a good 8 or 9 times. Without these travels, I do not believe I would have the outlook I do today. I hope to travel some place new each year forever.

That said, I rarely enjoy flying. Not that I don’t like planes, I think they are super cool. Many times I have asked myself if I would have been happier flying an A320 or 757 vs. being a tech nerd. Anyways….lately my fear of flying seemed a bit overblown considering how safe flying really is. But, I’ve had this bad feeling about planes recently.

I think its because, I’ve flown too much. Too much turbulence, icy poles, empty oceans and windy, snowcapped mountain ranges that made for some rather long and unpleasant flights. But to my luck, no air emergencies. Not until last Monday afternoon that is.

The flight was to Salt Lake from San Jose. The plane, a Delta Canadian Regional Jet – the problem, “ice indicators on the wings.” Shortly after takeoff, we leveled off around five thousand feet and then started descending in long, slow circles, with hardly any engine power. After about 10 minutes in the air a fellow passenger could be heard muttering, “boy…we are going low..and slow.”

Then the announcement you never want to hear from the captain, “er…crackle…ahhh, we are getting some ice indicators, not going to Salt Lake, back on the ground in five minutes.” Ok….we haven’t crashed yet, the plane is still flying, though I can’t feel the engines, looks like in five minutes time I will either be alive or dead. Surprisingly, the cabin was calm, actually silent….the folks in the isle seats thought it was a problem in Salt Lake, but us folk in window seats new the plane was in trouble. Are we dumping fuel so we don’t blow up on the runway while trying to land?

After in an incredibly low and slow drift back to San Jose we landed safely. As I had promised myself a hundred time before on other unpleasant flights, I got off the plane and went home. It wasn’t this flight that sent me home, it was for all the other unpleasant flights that made me feel the same way.

On Tuesday morning I took another CRJ and flew to Salt Lake and back the same day. For some reason, the flight was great, I felt relaxed the entire time and had fun looking at all the old cold war airfields and military artifacts on the flight across the dessert. My anxiety was gone. I knew I was due for something unfortunate to happen in the air after all my travels – and it happened. And I survived it!!

Life is good again, I’m ready to fly anywhere now.

 

Ice indicators

VCommonwealthU

When folks ask me “where did you go to school?.” I usually say I went to a university in Virginia. Then I quickly add, not UVA, Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia. Most folks in silicon valley have never heard of VCU and usually I receive a puzzeled look, as if they have heard of the school….but are not sure where so they just give a polite smile.

Folks out here are also not used to states being referred to as commonwealths either. So they assume its some kind of small private university; which being situated in the heart of an old southern capital and with 20+ thousand students, VCU is anything but rural and private.

Though not an ivy league school by any stretch, I have always been proud of my time and education there in the late 80’s. I am not sure if it was the excellent business school or all of my art school and ROTC roommates who made for a very entertaining and unpredictable social life.


Go Rams!!

VCommonwealthU

Tsunami

Friday I woke up pretty spent from riding Laguna the day before to watch the first Tsunami waves roll into Santa Cruz Harbor. The harbormaster requested that all boat owners stay away from the harbor until the damage was done. All I could do was watch the helicopter cam of the harbor and pause it on frames that showed Calico in her slip. It was a scary and tradjic day indeed. Overall eighteen vessels are unaccounted for and assumed sunk in the harbor. Looks like most of the danage was in the north harbor where there are mostly fishing vessels. Luckily Calico escaped undamaged as seen from shore as the docks are locked pending structual evaluations.

Thanks to everyone for your calls and emails….

Tsunami

Laguna Seca

This past Thursday was my first track day of 2011. Keigwins at TheTrack hosted the day and as always provided a super-fun day of track riding. My S1000RR was in the shop getting a few upgrades so I took a chance, (as insurance does not cover bike damage on a track) and rode my K1300S. The K was a great bike to ride on the track and I was happy I did not drop it. I was somewhat reluctant to push too hard going into the corners as this bike weighs over 500 pounds and the front suspension is not design to be as flickable as a dedicated track bike. The straights as you can image are where this bike excels with its 1300cc inline four cylinder power plant – the most powerful on the track that day. This will likely be the only time I ride this bike on a track, but with a couple of suspension modifications this could be an unbelievably good track bike.

Thanks to GotBlueMilk for the photo

Laguna Seca