Saturday, December 30, 2006

See All Our Vacation Photos

Click on the following links to see most of the photos from our Maui vacation:

Christmas on Maui Set 1

Christmas on Maui Set 2

Christmas on Maui Set 3

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Visit to Poli Poli Park

We've been relaxing and eating too much at my parents house since Christmas. It has been wonderfully lazy! We decided today to get out of the house and visit one of our favorite places on Maui, Poli Poli Park. It is at 6,100 feet on the slopes of Haleakala. It involves a long drive up the side of the mountain and then an off road journey to the park.

Along the way we went geocaching, saw parasailers and slope-soaring RC gliders, and just enjoyed the tremendous views from that elevation. I was even able to make ham radio contacts with friends in Honolulu using just my handheld. Because of the elevation, I could hit repeaters on Oahu that I couldn't even hit from Mililani! At the park we had a little picnic and did some minor hiking before heading home.

It has been a very relaxing time here and tomorrow we visit Lahaina with the Hirose's and then stay with them a few days in Kula.

Peace Love and Deep Relaxation,


Monday, December 25, 2006

Christmas Morning

Silly Christmas Faces

This is what happens when the kids are left alone with Grandpa's computer!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Keiki Christmas Eve

Keiki Christmas Eve
Originally uploaded by RichFuel.
Christmas Eve was spent with the Hirose side of the family. We watched the UH game on ESPN, ate our traditional cornish game hens, and opened presents together around the tree! Later that night we went outside despite it being VERY cold, and stargazed for a while. Every star was turned on last night and there was not a cloud in the sky. It was absolutely amazing and we even saw a shooting star.

Valley Isle Christian Fellowship

Christmas on Maui Day 2
Originally uploaded by RichFuel.
We worshipped this morning at Valley Isle Christian Fellowship on Maui.

Christmas on Maui Day 2
Originally uploaded by RichFuel.

Christmas on Maui Day 2

Christmas on Maui Day 2
Originally uploaded by RichFuel.
Sandy and Dick,
Arley (my Cousin),
Emily and Rich
Bryan and Bradley

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Christmas Cookie Tree

First Day on Maui
Originally uploaded by RichFuel.
The kids helped Nana build this delicious looking cookie Christmas tree.

Friday, December 22, 2006

We're on Maui!

We made it to Maui! Finally!

Gabcast! FuelDepot by Phone #5

Wake up the kids!

Listen in as we wake up the kids for our trip to Maui.

Gabcast! FuelDepot by Phone #4

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Experimental Satellite

Lights Camera Action!
Originally uploaded by RichFuel.
Yesterday Ron Hashiro (AH6RH) and Hank Kaul (KH6HAK) and I went down to Kakaako Waterfront Park to attempt to receive telemetry from a newly deployed satellite. In fact, the satellites came out of the back of the space shuttle just 10 minutes before our attempt! (Video) Ron has been in contact with the designers of this satellite and offered his assistance in trying to establish their health as soon as they came out of the shuttle. Hank was there to document the whole thing. I was there as a learner and interested party.

Unfortunately we did not hear anything over Hawaii, possibly because the solar panels had not yet generated enough power for a full signal. The signal was heard later over Washington D.C. .

Today another set of satellites were to be deployed, but we just got news that the deployment system for one failed to fully eject the satellite. It may not be useable stuck have in/half out. Still we will try at 2:50 this afternoon.

Note this entry was created via Flickr, a new photo sharing service I am trying and I am looking forward to see how well it works.

Peace Love and New Experiments,


Monday, December 18, 2006

Mon Morn: Crime Victim

I couldn't sleep.

I had been tossing and turning in bed for an hour. I decided to get up and read a book instead of worrying about sleep. I turned on the lights and sat in a chair with some blankets and started reading a sailing book. About 10 minutes later (roughly 2:45am) I heard a car alarm go off, very close to us. In fact I got up and grabbed my keys and checked to see if it was the Rodeo by turning it's alarm off and on. It was OK. Then I tried my pickup alarm remote,...HEY! that's my truck! I grabbed my hiking stick which I keep by the door and turned off the house alarm and ran to the driveway. I still figured it was a cat or something.

To my surprise I saw a shattered glass panel of my rear widow curving into the cab of my truck. Only the tinting was holding it together at all. My gas can from the bed of my truck was by the driver's side door and a siphon hose (not mine) and a homemade lock jimmy (also not mine) were found around the truck.

It looked as though they had pushed the window edge in, hoping the magnet would stay in place over the sensor. I guess they either unexpectedly broke the glass or moved it too far as they set off the alarm. I was out there pretty quickly but didn't hear any running or swearing or cars or anything.

I called the cops and they looked around, took my statement, and left. There isn't much they could do. In fact they said it had been a pretty quiet night otherwise.

I was left to tear out the old glass, vacuum up the shards and tape a plastic garbage bag over the back. Junk.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Sat Afternoon: Christmas Sailing!

My brother-in-law Richard Ridao had bid on a sailing cruise for 20 at a benefit silent auction and won! He is a doctor and the owner of Club50 fitness center. He decided to take his staffs and family on a Waikiki Sailing cruise as a thank you for their work all year. It was wonderful.

It had been so long since I had been on the water. I was loving every minute of it. Bradley wasn't so sure at first. Initially he clung to my arm and eyed the ever deepening water very warily. Soon we were pounding into the waves, heading toward Diamond Head off Waikiki. The boat began to heave up and down and to my surprise he loosened up and started enjoying it! I was shocked. It seemed the rougher it was the more fun it was and before long he was at the rail giggling as the bow plunged down the back side of a big wave, splashing them all with sea water!

I was telling both boys about how much I loved sailing and how I wanted to sail around the world. When I was just out of college I was dead set on doing just that. I was going to raise my family at sea and we were going to learn about culture after culture by experiencing them first hand. We would study the history and traditions of whatever part of the world we were in. Alas, life happened differently than expected. I can't say it isn't as good either. We have a great life, filled with love and friendships and wonderful memories. Just sometimes, I wonder if...

When we reached our mooring spot off Waikiki beach, a bunch of us immediately went into the water. It was about 40 feet deep over a place called Turtle Canyon. True to it's name we saw several seaturtles during our time there. Underwater, there was a big school of black trigger fish and some slender blue fast-looking fish I didn't recognize. I also saw a big turquoise-green parrot fish (Uhu).

Bryan decided he wanted to get in the water too. His swimming skills are still developing so we strapped him into a life preserver and let him join me. He did great! He was surprisingly calm in the deep water and was content to float around and watch everything from the surface.
I, on the other hand, could not resist the impulse to dive deep and see if I could touch the bottom. After several ever deeper scouting dives, I was able to do it. Looking up at the surface from 40 feet below reminded me of my scuba diving days with my Dad. That was one of our father-son activities together. I haven't scuba dived for probably 15 years now. Maybe I'll get re-certified sometime.

The sail back was calm and relaxing, everything a Waikiki sailing tour should be. We had a Christmas gift grab bag game on the way back, and Santa even showed up suddenly to pass out toys to the kids. It was a perfect day enjoying some fun activities that I haven't enjoyed for a long time.

Peace, Love and Forgotten Pleasures,


Sat Morn: Chai With Bry Time

Bryan and I have a tradition of talking one-on-one each Saturday morning about things that he will be faced with as he enters adolescence. We call it Chai with Bry Time, as it is often at Starbucks. This Saturday however, because we were babysitting my nieces early on Saturday, I took Bryan to one of my favorite places,...Waahila Ridge State Park. (Often referred to as Saint Louis Heights Park). We bought a big cup of hot chai and found a secluded picnic table in the woods. We have been going through James Dobson's "Preparing For Adolescence" program and it has been very helpful in preparing Bryan for the turbulent times ahead of him as he grows up.

These times have been so precious to me. There were moments in the past where I wondered what I was going to say or was worried about how well we would communicate over sensitive issues. It has turned out to be a treasured tradition and I experience a very deep satisfying joy preparing Bryan for what is ahead. He has been very attentive and is clearly soaking it all in, even if it may be to store for future referrence. We have not felt embarrassed by any of it and I am so glad we have been able to talk honestly about everything.

I pray that we are building a strong bridge, with deep roots, that will carry us through the years ahead. I can't wait to do it again with Bradley.

Peace, Love and Deep Truths over Spiced Tea,


Friday, December 15, 2006

Fri Night: Hanalani Christmas Program

Bryan and Bradley did a wonderful job in their Christmas program at Hanalani School. It was quite a production which included falling theatrical snow! I'm so glad that Nana and Papa were able to see it during their visit from Maui.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


This happens to my soul every now and then and when it does, it's hard to quell.

Wanderlust. Taking a Walkabout. Vacilando. Solo Safari.

Sometimes I just want to throw off all the bounds of civilized society and head off into the woods. When I talk about it with Emily, she just looks at me like I just sprouted antennas, instantaneous mixture of disgust, confusion and dismay.

"Why would you want to do that?" she says.

"I don't know why! I just hear the call of the wild or something." I mumble.

It might have something to do with my youth. When I was about Bryan's age, my family would often go backpacking on three day weekends. It was because of backpacking that I got to see all the islands of the Hawaiian Chain. I have fond memories of endless switchbacks, freezing wet nights and being attacked by a colony of bees miles from medical help. Ahhh,...the good ole' days!

I suppose I must have brought this "attack" on myself. I have been listening to a podcast created by Backpacker Magazine. One of their editors recorded an episode at least once a day by satellite phone while on a 34 day solo trek on the Sierra High Route and John Muir trail areas in California. I've been on the John Muir trail! It was the pinnacle of my backpacking life! He is in many of the same places I have been. I still vividly remember freezing hikes through snow in the rain, eating a Snickers bar with a bear tooth hole in it, and leaping from one frozen boulder to the next,....Ahhh what fond memories.

Monday I picked up a musubi for lunch and for some unknown reason headed for the mountains. Soon I found myself at the very top of Tantalus, sitting in a small parking lot across from the Puu Ohia Trail head. I finished my musubi and just decided I would see what condition the trail was in.

It was a beautiful day, sunny and cool. Quiet except for the gentle breeze in the leaves and the sound of distant birds. The well defined trail headed gently upslope and around the ridge just a little way ahead. "I wonder what the view is like from there?" I thought, so in my work clothes I strolled on up to see for myself. It was magnificent! A breathtaking panorama of downtown Honolulu and the miles and miles of clear blue ocean beyond. I was in my element. Well, a few minutes later I found myself a good mile into the woods and loving every step of it.

I asked myself, as if I hadn't been paying attention to my feet, "How did I get here?". All I set out to do was to go get a musubi for lunch! Next thing I know I'm deep in the woods of Tantalus. The thought made me smile. I love that I can so quickly escape the bounds of civilization, and still be back before lunch hour is over. It was great except that it wasn't enough. It was a taste of freedom, but not a meal. I long for more.

The thought of hiking solo excites me and scares me. I love the idea, but I am fully aware of all the risks. There are definite boundaries when deep outdoors alone, but no one can predict everything. Still there is something about the challenge and the solitude that I am aching for. I have begun to study the Trans-Koolau hiking trail. It is a multi-day hike along the Koolau Mountain Crest. It is rated difficult. I would love to attempt it in the dry season of early summer.

I have been checking out a new sleeping/tent system called the Hennessey Hammock. The whole system appeals to me. Rather than sleeping on the ground, one sleeps suspended between two trees! It looks exceptionally comfortable, dry and flexible for all low altitude camping (below the tree line).

I think my course is set. Unless this longing wears off, I am headed for a solo trek of some type this year. I feel it all the way down to my bones (and I'm sure I'll feel sore there when I'm done too!) I've started taking my workouts more seriously now, trying to build up my strength and endurance. I'm paying more attention to gear catalogs and outfitter spam, but I really don't need much new gear. I just need to get away, take a hike, breathe the fresh air and listen to the whisper of the woods.

Peace, Love and the Call of the Wild,