Big Travel Plans

I’ve been debating over the last month whether or not to follow our friends Eric and Arthur on their adventure to Japan in October. While in the middle of procrastinating that trip, the opportunity to visit an Atlantic Island has cropped up for the week between Christmas and New Years. Now the question is do I try and do both this year? That’s overly ambitious and the first time I will try two international trips in the same calendar year since I went to Japan twice in 2004.

I’m 70% sure that I am going to try and go to Japan. Looking at my frequent flier miles, it seems we can get a lot for our mileage. Looks like a lot of people are going that same weekend, so we might have to arrive before Eric and Arthur get to Japan and then leave before they are done. The plus is that airfare will be cheap and we know a decent hotel we stayed at before which is also inexpensive.

I’m 90% sure I am going to try and do the trip to Madiera Island with Nathan and his friends. A week on an island away from it all sounds real good over the holidays. The catch is airfare to Europe is crazy expensive. The good thing is that accommodation will be super-cheap!

Add that to a new iPhone coming out in Sept/Oct I’m thinking it’s Top Ramen time to save some money!

Since I am off, I’m hoping to narrow everything down in the next week or so. So Stay Tuned!!

So Long to an Old Friend

My 1983 vintage Schwinn Traveler - Thanks for the memories!

My 1983 vintage Schwinn Traveler – Thanks for the memories!

In a move that was 20 years in the making, I finally parted ways with the first bike I ever owned. My dad bought me the bike back in 1983 and I rode it faithfully to school off and on from the 6th grade through my second year at college. After 10 years of use, I purchased a mountain bike from Target, a Motiv that became my primary bike at school. Once I got driving privileges on campus at UC Davis, my bike riding days dwindled. I even attempted to sell the Schwinn back in 1993 to a student at Davis, but he flaked and I took it as a sign that I should keep it around.

Once I moved back to Southern California in 1999, my bike riding days were all but done and it wasn’t until I moved to the OC in 2003 that I occasionally wanted to ride my bike to the beach. By this time, both bikes were in pretty rough shape – in need of a major tune up. In 2007, I actually rode my blue bike and Daniel rode the Schwinn around Mile Square Park, and in 2009 Daniel and I did a bike trip to Huntington Beach and back (photo proof).

The last ride of my bikes happened when I moved in 2010 when we had to ride them from my old apartment to my new one. For the past four years they have been sitting on my patio gathering dust, rust, and generally falling into disrepair. A few months ago, after some ribbing by people at work, I seriously started to consider riding my bike to work each day. I knew that if I was going to do that, I would need to get one of the bikes overhauled to get it back into ride-able shape. After testing out the bikes, I determined they probably needed major overhauls and new wheels. I decided it was time that I joined the 21st century and buy a new bike. Before I can make a purchase, I needed to find new homes for my bikes.

The plan was to donate them to a charity or sell them on Craigslist, but both seemed like hassles and it looked like the bikes would sit on my patio forever. Finally, someone at work asked if I’d be willing to donate them to the Boy Scouts at his church so they could use them for their bike rides. That sounded like a great idea so I made arrangements and yesterday my Schwinn and the junior Motiv were both hauled away.

On the one hand I was a bit sad to see my Schwinn go away. It’s been a faithful companion for over 30 years despite my neglect over the last 20. Like the toys in Toy Story 3, I am glad they are going to serve a new life and hopefully get some action and see the world for the first time in a long, long time. I do feel guilty that my blue bike was never more than “the other bike”. Honestly, I rarely rode it and the tires and paint still look great (Chain and wheels – another story!).

Besides the picture above, I will always remember these key events in my Schwinn’s bike’s history:
- That time Kris drove by in his parent’s car after he fractured his hand and Alex and I were riding to school in the cold
- That time the wheels slid out from under me when there was some sand on the bike path. I ate it pretty good in what Kris and I called “the Mushroom Cloud”
- When I was riding home from school and the Pizza Delivery guy didn’t see me and hit my front tire. Thankfully, I wasn’t hurt and the guy paid for a new front wheel.

As for the future? I’m looking at what are called hybrid bikes – basically mountain bike handlebars with a skinnier road bike tire. They are said to be good for commuting and for casual bike rides – exactly what I am looking to get. I’ve looked at a Raleigh, Trek, and Bianchi and all three have their merits. I am not sure I’m ready to spend $600 on a bike, but all the research I have done say it is totally worth it. I’ll be sure to post a photo when I get it.

My Quake’s Bigger than Yours

The USGS posted a link to a calculator to help people understand the difference between two earthquakes of different magnitudes.

Case in point? Let’s compare the 9.0 March 11, 2011 Tohoku earthquake (My one month later post with video) with the m5.1 March 24, 2014 La Habra Quake

A magnitude 9.0 earthquake is 7943.282 times bigger than a magnitude 5.1 earthquake on a seismogram, but is 707,945.784 times stronger (energy release). Makes the mind boggle!!