Sailing to Bermuda

Into the Blue

 

Offshore passages all have their very own unique qualities and for Bruce, this particular trip is one he will not soon forget. Bruce had been working for The Moorings, a yacht charter company with a base in Miami Beach Marina while also working on his captain’s license and generally keeping busy as a mate in South Florida. When the opportunity arose to make the near thousand mile journey along the eastern edge of the Bermuda Triangle, the answer was. . . YES!

The Moorings had partnered with America’s Cup as the official yacht charter supplier during their 35th event. The race sees the most technologically advanced sailing catamarans one could ever imagine with superhuman teams navigating each course.

With little notice, Bruce hopped on a plane to meet his crew in Road Town Marina on the British Virgin Islands. We like to say that he completed a Bermuda Triangle integration of sorts as he made all the points; Miami, San Juan, Bermuda and Back to Miami. No sightings were reported and the fleet, five leopard catamarans, made it safely to their destination.

Offshore Communications

Back on shore, I had little communication regarding vessel location with the exception of AIS when the fleet were in range. I am the type that loves technology. Just to give you an example, seven years ago I sat in on a talk given by Chris Parker and asked when I would be able to have satellite internet access on my 27ft Catalina. He asked me to wait about ten years as the technology was not going to fit on my small sailboat. So here I was, nearly ten years later, wondering about latest technology in cruising communications. Luckily, Sailing Totem came out with a super helpful post while Bruce was gone, Offshore Communications, satellite or SSB? It more than satisfied my curious mind and I also learned about the Predict Wind app.

In addition, I found a very interesting event running parallel with Bruce’s fleet; The inaugural Antigua to Bermuda Race! Using their YB tracking system I enjoyed six days of beautiful racing yachts, cruising/racers, super yachts and multihulls. YB tracking also supports The Transpac, Oyster World Rally and the World ARC. Often I would try and imagine where Bruce and his fleet were in relationship to the Antigua to Bermuda race. They left the same day, really just hours after The Moorings departed Anegada. It was fascinating to read the reports over coffee in the morning which included amazing night sky descriptions, delicious dinners, exercise regimens, searching for wind, suspicious fishing/offloading activity, rescues, kindness, teamwork and finally reaching Bermuda.

The next generation in catamaran Design

When Bruce appeared back on the grid, I found that he spotted the Nigel Irens designed APC78 catamaran! How awesome as Bruce really had no idea how closely I was following their race from Antigua. Nigel Irens had designed some of the Gunboats too and Bruce was fortunate enough to run into  one of those as well, The Zenyatta. The APC78 was the only catamaran racing this year! Get out there Riley and Elayna of La Vagabonde! Paul Gelder of Sail Magazine describes Nigel’s boats in the most beautiful way.

celebrated as a kind of fusion of art and science. Irens’ designs, built for speed and endurance, have been called poems of flowing function, and for decades have been sought after by the hottest sailors on the race circuits.

It’s no wonder that Alexander Simonis, the naval architect behind Leopard, met Nigel Irens at the age of 18 and was quite inspired. The Leopard Catamarans are nice cruising boats not racers. They have a huge charter presence in the British Virgin Islands. Here on Miami Beach our now closed base had only 3 Leopards; mainly for trips over Biscayne Bay and to The Keys compared to the BVI’s 300 or more vessels! You wouldn’t think it but The Leopard catamaran is blue water capable. The firm, Simonis Voogd is known for some pretty interesting race designs. Today, designers are definitely being challenged as sailors dream of both comfort and performance. The Gunboats and Outremers are excellent examples of just that and are very much in a class of their own. Bruce and I are working towards the Outremer 5X. Although Grand Large Yachting paints a pretty awesome picture of the new Gunboat 68ft.

Sail Magazine talked with Alexander Simonis recently about the new Leopard 45 and I am interested to try this one out on charter. Bruce was headed to the Keys with a family on The Moorings 39 recently and came across some nasty weather that I think the 45 would have been well suited for.

Simonis explained that while the hull entry is fine, the hulls flare rapidly above the chine to provide plenty of reserve buoyancy to raise the bows as they enter a wave. This combination gives good speed in wave-piercing mode while keeping the foredeck well clear of heavier seas. He said he also designed the Leopard line with ample bridgedeck clearance and a subtle hull configuration that takes the bow wave smoothly between the hulls. Makes sense to me. Again, it’s hard to argue with a boat that just made it on its hulls from the south Atlantic. (Find the entire article here here. )

A beautiful video of the new boat.

Our New Video!

So the crew from Bermuda makes there way back to the British Virgin Islands this week. Sadly, Bruce was unable to go along on this particular trip. Though I imagine we will have plenty more amazing sailing opportunities ahead. We are so grateful that he was asked on the first crossing! Enjoy the video of Bruce’s first journey on the Leopard 48ft below and follow our You Tube Channel for more adventure this summer.

 

Water In Transit – Crystal Clear

About time to get onboard that sailboat with a desalination unit? Maybe, we could use some extra reverse osmosis in our lives. While we prepare to throw off the bow lines we’ve welcomed the opportunity to try Aqausana’s, Clean Water Machine.

The dust has nearly settled on the corner of Euclid and 11th as perhaps the construction for the back up sewage system and new water main comes to a close. The water still sputters out of the tap and we have heeded the boil water notifications. It’s all completely understandable as Miami Beach raises street levels, installs pumps along the bay and updates our water delivery and waste export systems. The sea levels continue to rise, salt water intrusion becoming a major issue, as well as, the amounts of acceptable contaminants climbing while seemingly floating at a safe level.

Sounds like a lot? It can be overwhelming at times. On the other hand, Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Department received recognition this summer as a Utility of the Future Today  by the National Association Clean Water Agencies, the Water Environment Federation, the Water Environment Research Foundation and WaterReuse—with advisory support from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. This is awesome news but I still think filtering water is necessary.

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Aquasana’s Clean Water machine, with its sleek and streamlined design has found earned a spot on our countertop

The Biscayne Aquifer always carried this untouchable mysticism for us; clean and pure. We somehow forgot the journey this water takes to reach the glass, first flowing through the Everglades, a fragile river of grass needing much protection and then through city water treatment systems. Last week the U.S. Congress finally approved $1.95 billion for projects to assist the flow of water from Lake Okeechobee, south. A great relief for much-needed improvements as the health of the Everglades and surrounding regions is urgent.

The levels of contaminants in our drinking water should not harm us, yet seeing the streets torn apart, tasting the chlorine and experiencing a couple undesirable side effects, we felt it was time to take it up a notch and further refine the quality and flavor delivered. Austin based water filtration company, Aquasana answered our call. At the helm,Todd Bartee, an environmental engineer, believes that everyone has the right to decide what they consume. We love the ocean, have traveled to hot springs across the country, collected our own water from cold springs, and most recently traveled to Italy being spoiled by awesome mineral water.

Miami Beach on a quiet morning.
Miami Beach on a quiet morning.

I like our water as close to natural as possible and it’s amazing to have the opportunity to remove extra water additives like chloramines with current filter technology. With a vision for accessible health and wellness, Aquasana has inspired us to take a look into the pipes of water travel, in that space between the faucet and the source. It’s definitely a murky conversation with challenging questions on the edge of pollution and clean drinking water. I am proud of everything that Miami-Dade has on the table yet with slow construction I also do not want to increase my visits to the toilet, as well as, the clinic for respiratory discomfort.

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Construction at the intersection of 11th and Euclid looking towards the Biscayne Bay. Miami Beach, FL.

For the last month we have now been creating our own water with Aquasana’s Pure Performance Claryum Technology. It uses activated and catalytic carbon, ion-exchange and absolute sub-micron mechanical filtration for 320 gallons or 2400 plastic bottles in just about six months! At eight times the capacity of gravity filtration on the market we are extremely happy. We are also excited that the selective nature of the filter allows minerals such as magnesium, calcium and potassium to remain. The filter cartridge is BPA free and recyclable. We know that we have done all that we can to reduce the heavy metals, chlorine resistant cysts, organic chemicals and pharmaceuticals while protecting the environment from waste. Aquasana’s Clean Water Machine is an on demand system consisting of a dock and pitcher using power to push water through their Claryum filter. It reduces 66 contaminants compared to gravity filters reducing 6. The system is NSF certified and we use it for everything from general drinking water, filling the kitty bowl and all manners of kitchen preparation ranging from coffee and tea, soups and smoothies to soaking beans.

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Easy undocking and fill up of the on demand container.

Digging, drilling, pipe installation and ground filtration has unfolded outside our window since last winter. Add that to toxic algae blooms, as well as, the drone of planes covering South Beach with Zika pesticide and additional filtering of water doesn’t sound like such a bad idea. Preservation of an aquifer lying just a few feet below the surface has become extremely real to us. Before the construction we didn’t give drinking water a second thought. The process has opened our eyes. The Biscayne Aquifer’s shallow position and permeable limestone structure makes it susceptible to contamination touching the lakes, rivers, streams, canals the bay and ocean.

New awareness is inspiring and we are looking forward to visiting and helping protect our beautiful and natural resources. Take a look at the Aquasana products below from the counter top solutions to whole home water filtration systems. I think our next step will be changing our shower head—way overdue! One step at a time. . .

 

Winter to Spring – Yoga Retreat

Reflection

The apex of the December moon cycle was marked by an evening satsang program at Sivananda Ashram-Bahamas. A day of yoga in the Caribbean sun, silent meditation and chanting opened onto a special concert with American Kirtan singer and yoga teacher, Snatam Kaur. It was a beautiful night, a full moon and a reminder of a transformative two weeks since the new moon.

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Christmas Eve Sivananda Ashram – Bahamas

I had only arrived the previous day with a friend from California and her daughter. We flew a short 39 minutes to Nassau from Miami-pretty close! After customs we phoned the Ashram for our arrival, caught a taxi to Elizabeth Dock (20 min.) and ferried over the bay (5 min.) to a radiant and serene sanctuary on Paradise Island-first stamp on the passport!

 

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Interestingly enough, Sivinanda ashram is tucked in-between cruise ships on one side and Atlantis Resort on the other. We could hear a party boat the first night, its sound traveling up the bay. The rest of our time–silence–like the ships and resort had disappeared. Only to reappear for a couple walking trips to Starbucks, as Pattabhi Jois says, “No Coffee, No Prana.”

Our journey began roughly a week earlier, mid December, spending eight days in Lake Wales at the Winter Solstice Sadhana Celebration. I had strained my chest muscle right before the trip during my regular Mysore Style Ashtanga practice. Though I did not realize it at the time, the retreat period would provide much needed time for reflection. Tears streamed down my face when the injury occurred, slowly realizing that I no longer had access to postures that were simply attainable before. I struggled through that practice but was reassured by my teachers kindness. My doctor suggested a more gentle approach to yoga for a bit. I humbly accepted the present moment and packed for two weeks of reawakening. Most twisting was out of the question and certain types of chest, shoulder and arm articulation were simply blocked. . . A few injuries had come and go this year causing a reset, some time off, healing and/or reevaluation but my current situation was different-heartbreaking on an emotional level. What was my practice pointing to? Where did I need to focus my attention to locate the root cause?

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Melodic voices and instruments wandered around the Lake Wales camp to wake us in the most gentle way before Sadhana at 4am. On the way back from a shower after practice the sky lit up in a beautiful sunrise.

Lake Wales

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We fit EVERYTHING in this Mini Cooper; two hard-side suitcases, one large soft side bag and three backpacks! The Guinness World Record recorded 28 people fitting in this little car!

IMG_1630 Friends and injuries are great teachers and I had much healing ahead, so I picked up Jessi and Kalea from Miami International Airport. I hadn’t seen Jessi in four years! We all drove to central Florida in an awesome Sixt rental to experience ancient traditions of Kundalini, Karma, Naad and White Tantric Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan. I quietly worked with my body each morning during Sadhana. Basic postures and breath work were essential and little bits of twisting were becoming acceptable. It was a time to simply take care of myself, a break from the normal routine and was a welcome disruption. The theme of the week, “When the time is on you, start, and the pressure will be off.”

With service, physical postures, breath, meditation and sound, a pretty impressive energetic shift took place. I practiced and worked alongside people from all over the world. While Jessi did her service in the kids camp with Kalea, I made chai tea and golden milk-two recipes that would later figure into my flu recovery! There was so much I experienced at The Circle F Dude Ranch from Indian vocal classes, meditation and women’s circle to new healing modalities. My favorite was deep relaxation accompanied by the gong before bed. The community was an amazing healing space and I reacquainted myself with pure awareness.

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Karma Yoga

I completely let go of all preconceived notions of what made up my yoga practice to facilitate a space for rejuvenation. Any patterns were shattered, so that a path of wellness could be shaped. Service came up again and again as I ended up choosing a pretty demanding Karma Yoga. Everyone attending the Winter Solstice Sadhana Celebration chooses someway to assist in the inner workings of the camp. I chose making Yogi Tea and Golden Milk. I really do love chai tea (Yogi Tea) and I was not familiar with Golden Milk-a blend of milk, turmeric, almond oil and honey! Our team had such an awesome time making pots of tea and milk to energize, soothe and sustain the camp. Long hours, early in the morning and late into the evening were rewarded by witnessing the sheer enjoyment that only a hot beverage could bring after IMG_0011challenging yoga work. Usually it’s coffee for me. It was a different thing entirely to take a step back and look at the yoga practice from this perspective, not without the coffee but from the sense of serving others. I did my best-leaning on some other lifetime ago as a fine dining server for the tea making. It took some focus; learning the recipes, navigating the busy kitchen, making the tea in large batches, setting up outside and cleaning for the next batch each morning and evening. It was good to revisit the type of skill set that requires an alert disposition, plenty of attention, mindfulness and flow. Sometimes I began to feel exhausted and made sure to rest but for the most part it was exhilarating to provide something for a large community. Most mornings our Karma Yoga group would meet by the lake for a meeting and reset. Our team leader, Amrita led us through chanting the Guru Gaitri Mantra. It works on the heart center and was a reminder of my chest injury-still a nagging part of my existence. Through this mantra I further invited compassion and patience into my being towards infinite awareness. They say this mantra assists with breaking through deep-seated blocks. Day by day I was starting to feel better. The karma yoga meetings also gave us the opportunity to share experiences along our journey that week. I shared my path in a gentle breeze with new friends.

 White Tantric

Winter Solstice Sadhana Celebration builds up to three days of White Tantric after two days of workshops. Each of the three days is eight hours of 32 and 62 minute kriyas-blending posture, breath and sound. Sitting across from a partner, in rows making up several hundred people under one tent, intense subconscious clearing takes place. Every day we had a pretty lively group surrounding us-the best energy all the time! We were laser focused but also laughed, cried, nearly fell asleep and let the internal processing do its work. Thoughts that I did not even think existed anymore bubbled to the surface. Most came up fast and some lingered longer than others but all seemed to float away, resolving themselves on their own. I was not surprised to see visions of pain and death being released that were replaced with love and joy. It was an awesome process with three days of Tantric Veggie Burgers served at lunch. Let it be said that I love spicy onion soup and a banana for breakfast! This is for all of the Avatar-The Last Airbender fans out there. Yogi Bhajan was certainly on to something here. Though in the animated series of Avatar the recipe is blended banana and onions-I have not tried this yet. Aang is super attuned to his chakras when eating this combination. Is this why I love durian so much?

It was awesome to spend three days sitting next to fascinating people all practicing yoga together. Some completely new, as well as some masters of this Kundalini practice and everywhere in-between. I made beautiful connections-simply appreciating life.

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and what better way to end White Tantric than laughing and being stickers in Shopkins by Kalea!

 

Jessi, Kalea and I left the Circle F Dude Ranch renewed and energized. The drive home was surreal as well as the vet/coffee stand/dog park we managed to find. The sunset and green landscape of central Florida finally morphed into the glittering lights of downtown Miami and when we drove over the MacArthur Causeway passing a sparkling bay to South Beach we all saw it all with new eyes. It felt a little bit strange to be home for a one night laundry marathon but with clean clothes we were ready to board a flight for Paradise Island and continue the adventure.

Bahamas

“By controlling the act of breathing you can efficiently control all the various motions in the body and the different nerve-currents that are running through the body. You can easily and quickly control and develop body, mind and soul through breath control or the control of Prana. It is through Pranayama that you can control your circumstances and character, and can consciously harmonize the individual life with the cosmic life.”           –Sri Swami Sivananda, The Science of Pranayama.

IMG_01382015 was a year of courageously moving forward. When a teacher told me she didn’t want to hear me jumping back in yoga practice I managed control over my body, when another revealed to me I was not breathing in my chest, I opened my lungs and when my teachers supported me through dropping into a backbend in the Ashtanga Primary Series, I dug in deep, trusting my body to move and let go of old patterns. The stirring up of old patterns is a serious endeavor and I was faced with many challenges. But I do have to say the process of revisiting old and uncomfortable experiences is necessary to move forward. I was happy to have the opportunity this winter to work intimately in areas of my yoga practice that I may have neglected before-especially the more subtle aspects, such as my breathing patterns.

There was an unexpected lesson for me when I arrived to Paradise Island. I saw a teacher of mine
in an ethereal way. First I saw her in the faces of other people, then a reminder of her Kriya lineage, spotting a place-marker on a pillow reserved for a student. I had many passing thoughts of her as I practiced the Sivananda sequences at the ashram. For me, the sequence seemed familiar. I wondered in some way if this practice was connected to the Dharma Mittra style. This particular teacher on my mind studied with Dharma and shared the practice with us at Shanti Yoga in Myrtle Beach. While I was studying in South Carolina, my Dad’s battle with Parkinson’s was coming to an end and I could feel that I was in the wrong place. I went home. I guess it would not have been so troubling an experience except for the fact that I cut a year long apprenticeship short by about a month’s long worth of work.

The thread of yoga, no matter what or where you practice is pretty amazing. At Sivananda Ashram we chanted mantra that I could trace through gifts that many of my teachers have shared-those in Florida, South Carolina and California-all whom I am grateful to have spent time with. The one mantra that stood out in particular was the Mahamrityumjaya Mantra. I was left with a deep feeling of connectedness in the Caribbean even though I was farther away from my practice, physically than ever before, slowly moving my body as much as it would accept, chanting a mantra to overcome death.

After a sunset class near the dock I asked a senior teacher, Arjuna about my feelings. I literally felt I had taken a time machine back to South Carolina. He did not think anything of thIMG_0442e Dharma Mitra connection until I mentioned, Dharma’s teacher Yogi Gupta or Swami Kailashananda. Turns out that Swami Kailashananda was a student of Swami Sivananda, just as Swami Vishnu, the teacher who started the Sivananda Ashrams outside of India. Yogi Gupta developed his own following in New York and Dharma Mitra was one of his students. I felt relieved and could finally relax into the ashram a bit more. I felt like a part of life’s puzzle was complete and it no longer seemed like an episode from The Twilight Zone. Jessi reminded me that it all comes from the same place anyway! With that all cleared up, I smiled at the gems all around the Sivananda Ashram. New friends from familiar and far way places, the vedic astrologer from Kerela who reminded me to keep practicing pranayama and afternoons workshops with Snatam Kaur and her husband Sopourkh. It was a nice continuation of the Winter Solstice Sadhana Celebration. In the afternoons everyone swam in the aquamarine sea before dinner; floating and gazing up at the sky while kids splashed, and built sand castles.

Expanding Horizons

The evening program at the ashram following dinner was meditation and a speaker or performance.  The theme towards the end of December and the beginning of January was Unity in Diversity-Many Paths One Truth. The visitors shared teachings and also gave day time workshops. I made may my way to one extra workshop given by Lama Migmar Tseten, the Buddhist chaplain at Harvard University and director of the Sakya Institute of Buddhist Studies in Cambridge, MA. I seemed to run into Lama Migmar everywhere around the Ashram so I tuned in. After empowerment, transmission and a bit of instruction our class was ready to catch a glimpse into the practice of Arya Tara with visualization, mantra and mudra cultivating wisdom and compassion. One part of the Arya Tara is meant for sentient beings everywhere to experience peace. Throughout my yoga journey, this has been one of the most beautiful thoughts that I carry every day and also the the last line of the Mangala Mantra that ends the Ashtanga practice as taught by Shri K. Pattabhi Jois.

Two weeks of sleeping on my yoga mat flew by. My cats had used my roll up air mattress as a scratching pad and it was no longer of any use. I am not the best ground sleeper and I don’t understand how my friends do it, however, several full days of yoga brought on complete relaxation. During the night, just outside of my tent, I could hear the sound of the sea or a tropical rain storm causing me to drift off while my body processed new information.

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Full Circle

I felt at peace in many different ways ready to continue my Ashtanga practice on Miami Beach. That was in the beginning of January. . .  My integration period has taken longer than expected! I became sick upon returning home, derailed because I expected to continue where I left off and instead entered an ever deeper inner cleansing mode. I remembered the vedic astrologer telling me, everything would be different when I went home. . . He kept repeating the words in many different ways as if I would not understand. I admit that it took me a while to understand. I ran into one of my teachers a few weeks before I came down with pneumonia and she said the same about my practice-it was all about to change. Now after much rest, I am beginning to adjust. I returned to reading some yoga philosophy and am nearly ready to practice meditation, pranayama and asana again. It all came down to the simple act of breathing-something I completely took for granted. Asthmatic symptoms have begun to pop up that have caused me to look into the process of breathing related to yoga practice with new found interest. Going outside has been a process and  the intensity of a short walk is little crazy for me.

The last time I can remember such a feeling of strength depletion was just about ten years ago. Now that I think of it, I had just met Jessi, the same friend I was on this particular adventure with! I became sick upon moving to Orange County, CA after grad school in Santa Barbara. It was a major shift in my life to continuing my art practice and skydiving. Jessi and another friend, Lindsay introduced me to my first Kundalini class, really it was my first yoga class ever! I tried a raw, plant based cleanse for six months and it completely reset the previous ten years of my old eating style which was heavy on the processed soy cheese slices during the soy craze of 1995-1996. I remember bringing Thai coconuts to the drop zone and drinking them in the back of Jessi’s truck before loading the planes to jump. Perhaps every ten years some major self-examination and soul-searching is in order.

 

Another New Moon phase has just arrived.

To prana and the next ten years of life!

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Shop Small & Plant Coral!

ocean, conservation, sea, travel, environment, coral, restoration

Our goal today is to plant some coral! We are donating a percentage of our print sales to the Coral Restoration Foundation located in Key Largo. By participating in Small Business Saturday we hope that we can contribute to our local threatened reefs in a thoughtful way.

The ocean is truly magical and I often find myself wading in clear, sparkling water eager to spot marine life. Bruce and I made an exciting discovery a couple weeks ago when we found a starfish resting on soft white sand! It was absolutely amazing in all its wonderful underwater detail. Just about a month ago we swam with two manatees; a beautiful experience with such gentle giants passing by close to shore. The painful part is walking to and from the beach where garbage litters the streets and sand. From plastic bags and discarded cups to styrofoam take-out containers and those little plastic tooth cleaners that seem to be everywhere… The debris that never makes it to the garbage in all reality is quite close to many receptacle points and while some of it gets picked up, some of it ends up in the sea. Garbage is only a small part of what damages our reef systems but for me it is what I come in contact with day in and day out. The ocean is my home so naturally I want to protect it.

This year we are providing a 50% coupon code for art prints found on Tidal Transition, our online shop dedicated to the natural and built environment. Please use the code found on the Tidal Transition home page at check out.

Thanks for your support!

TPW Interview

Recently I was asked to interview with TPW, The Photography Workshop. Kedar Kulkarni who manages the program, is an instructor providing great insight into the photographic world for students, professionals, hobbyists and enthusiasts in Mumbai, India.

The questions provided me with a space of exploration, uncovering my surroundings which informs the work I do creating images. It was a wonderful process!

Let me know what you think!

Glacial Reboot

“The sun shines not on us but in us. The rivers flow not past, but through us. Thrilling, tingling, vibrating every fiber and cell of the substance of our bodies, making them glide and sing. The trees wave and the flowers bloom in our bodies as well as our souls, and every bird song, wind song, and tremendous storm song of the rocks in the heart of the mountains is our song, our very own, and sings our love.”
― John Muir

I had just finished reading a Renegade Health newsletter before entering The Sierra Nevada from Southern California. In this particular summer of 2011 blog, Kevin Gianni describes the process of diving into a cold river in Oregon akin to overcoming fear–I was fascinated! Never before had I really considered it this way. I had run into the cold Pacific Ocean in the beginning of spring and it was, as one may imagine, cold. Yet frigid rivers and streams always held me back. I think this is pretty normal across the board but there was a part of me that really wanted to give it a try. Living water is a topic that gains more and more momentum with each passing year, David Wolfe talks about its benefits down to the cellular level, as well as, waking us consciously tuning into the environment where wild water is born. Steven Sinatra and Clint Ober’s research in grounding is strongly connected, touching the earth in a way where we neutralize the free radicals in our body with the Earth’s energy. It was not until I touched the glacial waters of the high Sierra’s that I truly understood and became fascinated.

Bruce and I were heading to South Carolina to study at Shanti Yoga in Myrtle Beach. We had just sold our Catalina Sailboat in Dana Point and purchased a pre-owned Toyata 4-Runner to make the crossing. We had lived aboard a sail boat for the last year, ridding ourselves of most possessions save for a small storage space. We had now cleaned up storage, shipping what was important back to family in Connecticut and were down to the essentials–I could not imagine any better time for self reflection than traversing the amazing landscape of our National Parks. A good look into uncertainty always holds some kind of benefit and here we were about to re-evaluate our yoga practice after a chance meeting in Manhattan with one of our teachers. She happened to be studying with Dharma Mittra at the time but also provided us with our first introduction to Ashtanga some years ago. She continued to study with Swami Kriyananda, disciple of Paramahansa Yogananda, until his passing just recently. I carefully considered all of the opportunities ahead to feel water that had made a great journey out of the mountains and into the canyons and valleys. Thinking back now it is like yoga practice itself, acknowledging the teachers that have come before and letting the wisdom wash over our the soul.

Geological evidence, research and interpretation is woven into the extraordinary story of our earth. The sheer knowing of glaciers and water shaping the Sierra Nevada expresses nature’s extraordinary energy–it has had a profound effect on me. Bruce and I camped at the Big Bend Camp Ground, a Forest Service site at 7,800ft on Poole Power Plant Rd found along Highway 120. We looped around twice and secured our spot well after nightfall. It was July and many campgrounds were full. We happened to find this particular one by chance just as a few visitors were backing out of their campsite. We set up camp and quickly drifted off to sleep.

The next morning we awoke to the sound of rushing waters and were delighted to find Lee Vining Creek and Big Bend Falls.The Campgrounds along this road are true gems–the perfect base camp for Yosemite National Park. Big Bend Campground is surrounded by Aspen and Jeffrey Pines with towering granite overhead. The creek, filled by the Mt Conness Glacier and melting snow is quite beautiful and stream side plants seem plentiful. I absolutely loved the feeling–after a bleary eyed night–to be dazzled by these awesome sights in the morning. I knew I could swim in these waters! We hiked a bit, discovering our surroundings and finally I decided to test the creek. Grounding to the Earth is essential in my everyday life. I can’t remember a time where I lived too far away from a trail, a meandering stream or an open body of water such as the ocean. It resets the rhythmic systems in my body. Clint Ober in the book, Earthing, gives a meaningful description while he was discovering his path.

“Upon rising the next morning an odd notion went through my mind that the Earth itself was trying to tell me something. I didn’t know what, though. But I felt there was some urgency, and I knew I had to go west somewhere for the answer. I drove to Los Angeles and felt it was too crazy. Then I drove to Tucson and Phoenix, and neither of those places felt right. So I headed north and wound up in Sedona at ten one night. I parked at a recreational vehicle resort by a creek. The next morning I looked out and was enchanted by the beauty of the land. The scenery spoke to my roots, of growing up in rural Montana, exposed to Native American culture that emphasized the connectedness to the Natural world.”

Now once we enter the wild landscape it is best to remember we share the splendor with its inhabitants. In my case, a small bear cub joined me for a swim in Lee Vining Creek! I must have made it look so easy–and really, after the initial shivering it was a terrific cold water experience. Absolutely electrifying! I become increasingly aware from the release of endorphins and firing neurotransmitters. I giggled letting the creek carry me and then swam back up to do it all over again. I remember Bruce directing me to get out of the water at one point. He was very calm. I thought there could be danger but I just couldn’t imagine what kind. Soon we had most of the campground marveling at the bear who had just swam across the creek while I was splashing around. I was elated to have shared the creek with this young bear! Bruce and I figured he was just on the other side of a log where I had entered the Lee Vining Creek upstream. He plunged in shortly after me and while I was happy to share space with him, I am glad it was not a closer encounter. A man native to the region speculated that the mama couldn’t be far away as some children tried to run after the cub. It was time to pack up, I was filled with happiness and ready to travel up Tioga Road.

The drive was spectacular–winding and climbing to nearly 10,000 ft. It is closed in the winter usually opening sometime in May after evaluation and repair work. Bruce and I stopped at an overlook by Warren Fork where we could peer out into the valley in the direction that Lee Vining Creek makes its descent towards Mono Lake. What a perspective to trace our camp at this altitude! I recalled the first cold water plunge of the trip taking in the scenery!

Securing an overnight stay in sub-alpine Tuolumne Meadows was a bit more challenging than we had expected. I never imagined that a National Park would be so busy. We put our names on a waiting list early in the morning after camping clear on the other side of Yosemite! We waited in line for some time and then added our names confidently to a long list of visitors. With that ordeal behind us we explored the meadows and streams. I was used to the cold water now and took every chance I could to submerge my body in the Tuolumne river at a little under 9000ft! Later, after much anticipation our names were called for a one night stay. Friends had warned us before leaving that we were crazy not to make reservations but we thought camping opportunities should be endless in Yosemite–perhaps they were if we had our backcountry passes! With a night secured in the park we planned a hike to nearby Elizabeth Lake.

We hiked towards the glacier carved Alpine Lakes late in the afternoon curious of displaced rock known as erratics. The glaciers transported rocks and even large boulders into Tuolumne Meadows–it was unbelievable to the eye that such an event ever took place. Trekking nearly 1000ft We imagined how conservationist, John Muir may have felt. This passage from “Yosemite Glaciers,” New York Tribune, December 5, 1871 was part of his first published piece.

“Such was Yosemite glacier, and such is its basin, the magnificent work of its hands. There is sublimity in the life of a glacier. Water rivers work openly, and so the rains and the gentle dews, and the great sea also grasping all the world: and even the universal ocean of breath, though invisible, yet speaks aloud in a thousand voices, and proclaims its modes of working and its power: but glaciers work apart from men, exerting their tremendous energies in silence and darkness, outspread, spirit-like, brooding above predestined rocks unknown to light, unborn, working on unwearied through unmeasured times, unhalting as the stars, until at length, their creations complete, their mountains brought forth, homes made for the meadows and the lakes, and fields for waiting forests, earnest, calm as when they came as crystals from the sky, they depart.”

Crossing Unicorn Creek and climbing up to the Alpine Lakes we began to see snow patches as the sun set. It was July and we contemplated a journey ahead, not exactly sure where it may take us. There was freedom in not knowing, letting the mineral rich waters flow over our skin. Letting our own yoga practice work on us like glacial movement over many years. Yosemite is exactly where we needed to be.

Canopy Piloting to Prototype Motorcycle Racing

“Photography is, for me, a spontaneous impulse coming from an ever attentive eye which captures the moment and its eternity.” – Henri Cartier-Bresson

If someone were to ask me today, how did you ever decide to make artwork inspired by prototype motorcycle racing, I would reply by describing a trip from Southern CA to Longmont, CO. I had finished my MFA in 2004, at the University of Santa Barbara and during that time I began this extraordinary adventure in the sky with awe inspiring friends, teams and coaches. My weekends were dedicated to Perris Valley Skydiving Center. I was a student fine tuning my awareness in free fall and under canopy. Immediately after training sessions I would make the three hour drive back home, debriefing in my studio at the University: pouring over theories of space, sculpting and building installations, spending a lot of time writing and generally processing what my body had experienced.

After graduation, I found that I was spending more and more time at the drop zone. There was this period where I was working two jobs: one as a server for the Edward Thomas Corporation’s boutique hotel, Andalucia and another processing film and printing for an aerial photography firm. Chef Michael Reardon at the hotel pointed to the Los Angeles Times one day. It was an article about swooping in Perris Valley, Swoopers Chute the WorksIt described the beginning of a particularly vibrant time in the sport, full of creative energy. I was completely delighted by all that was happening out there and soon moved from Santa Barbara to Orange County where I could have access to Art in LA, the beaches in Newport and the flying just a short drive East to Perris.

2005 | Intimate Acceleration | Contemporary Arts Forum | Santa Barbara, CA
2005 | Intimate Acceleration | Group Exhibition |
Contemporary Arts Forum | Santa Barbara, CA

In 2005, I made an artwork for the Contemporary Arts Forum titled Intimate Acceleration. It focused on the sensation of inside and out. Using a translucent print of a jet traversing the sky, I carefully sliced, twisted and suspended the image and electroluminescent film to produce an ephemeral piece balancing on steel cable. The work stretched across the corner of an otherwise empty gallery space where the viewer may have contemplated it at a distance and then closer, even underneath the work itself. Acceleration, rhythm, lift, momentum and direction were demonstrated. I thought as we traverse our landscape with ever increasing speed, the passage of space once passive could be activated. In the sculpture I imagined the viewer further investigating the expanding and collapsing forms from varying perspectives. The deconstruction was meant to open onto a new language where one would feel qualities of tension, curvature, elasticity, illumination and reflection; a transition into the intimate and immense.

The momentum, precision and absolute awareness of flight were fascinating to me. I was especially intrigued by the canopy piloting, trusting and purely knowing a body in space; feeling space on a receptive level within relationship to the earth. Awareness is crucial and a one-pointed mind is essential. Observing this manner of traversing the earth would lead me to an Ashtanga Mysore practice and prototype motorcycle racing. At the drop zone kiting our canopies at sunset my mind opened–It was a brand new way to think about flying. Friends and I joined Jim Slaton and Duane Hall at Lake Isabella to learn ground launching and I took a few canopy piloting courses. I started to learn ground level, basic skills. Just enough to appreciate what competing canopy pilots were achieving in close proximity to the ground.

2005 | Ground Launch Camp | Lake Isabella, CA
2005 | Ground Launch Camp | Lake Isabella, CA

There was something transformative about going out to see the Canopy Piloting Cup in 2006 as it truly encompassed travel and adventure. My friend Jessi and I took this amazing road trip, visiting Zion National Park, Rocky Mountain National Park, Glenwood Hot Springs Pool, Great Sand Dunes National Park Preserve, as well as, The Grand Canyon! In the middle of it all we had a couple training days with Jim, who was organizing the event with Duane Hall, we then traveled a bit more and came back to enjoy the competition, watching pilots with an intensity I have only now witnessed in prototype motorcycle racing.

The Mile Hi Canopy Piloting Cup will be a one-of-a-kind title championship event that will take place at the Mile Hi Swoop Park in Longmont, Colorado. The Mile Hi Canopy Piloting Cup will challenge the world’s best canopy pilots to a series of technical swoop courses to see who is the best canopy pilot on the planet. The Canopy Piloting Cup will include new events, as well as, events used in National and World level canopy piloting competitions. -Posted on dropzone.com May 9th, 2006

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I photographed speed, distance, accuracy and style events impressed by displays of awesome concentration.
This was the trip that I also began to develop decent panning techniques with my Canon Digital Rebel. A friend gave me some advice about using a slightly faster shutter speed to add a hint of structure in my images. Before this the work was purely abstract and a blur! Which was fine, I loved it… I’m not certain anyone else did! I began to think about the subject blending with the abstracted background, just barely recognizable and it began to make sense. My movements with the camera tracking a canopy pilot had to calculated, nearly anticipating the action as it unfolded. In no way was it easy but I came away with a few shots in a technique that was unfamiliar to me and I was thrilled!

About a year later I picked up Valentino Rossi’s autobiography, What if I Never Tried It. Bruce and I had just started watching MotoGP™ on Speed TV’s Two Wheel Tuesdays. The unimaginable abilities of motorcycle riders flying over purpose built tracks was breathtaking and I began to think there may be great opportunities to crete artwork centered around the different circuits. The next year I found myself on another road trip, this time to Laguna Seca to photograph and research MotoGP™. I remember hearing the bikes for the very first time upon arrival to the track–I knew and had an overwhelming feeling that I had come upon something very important. It was a tough weekend as I had rented a Canon 1DS and a 400mm lens, truly raising the bar for myself. After the race, exhausted and dusty, I saw some of the canopy pilots from Perris Valley flying with Red Bull. It was awesome to see them and I felt inspired by the chance meeting. My path at that point had taken me away form the drop zone. Seeing familiar faces in a place that was not yet comfortable assisted me in a transition from a skydiving community I knew quite well to the European motorcycle racing circuits. I am now in my eighth season creating artwork about the prototype motorcycle racing series, MotoGP™ using Hasselblad equipment.

2013 | SCOPE Art Show | Digital Group Exhibition | Miami Beach, FL
2013 | SCOPE Art Show | Digital Group Exhibition | Miami Beach, FL

Prototype motorcycle rider and several times MotoGP World Champion, Valentino Rossi, reveals a beautiful account of observed consciousness in his autobiography written here.

When you’re on the outside you see a totally different world. You’re perception of speed is completely different and you can’t understand how someone can handle a bike at certain super-fast speeds. But when you’re actually on the bike, you have the opposite sensation. You have the impression that everything is happening in slow motion, that it’s all far slower than it really is. That’s because speed is something you learn to live with, something you get used to. And it’s relative.

Henri Cartier-Bresson’s thoughts on aligning the head, eyes and heart wash over me every time I am out on the track, panning with the world’s top riders. I can feel a certain vibration in their movement similar to that of just beginning to explore the concept of speed, balance and spacial navigation with my own skydiving and photographing canopy pilots ten years ago. How my life changed in a little over twenty minutes. I remember my Grandma bringing me to Skydive Deland in 2003. She was so excited to show me the store! They welcomed me for a tandem. I was horrified! It was all planned and no one told me! I would have never considered it and Gram never thought I would continue out on my own, inspired by that first flight. Now I think back–how could I not have?

One Ocean

 

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Buckminster Fuller, in his work, Your Private Sky, suggests to view the world from a dynamic, cosmic and comprehensive viewpoint. He talks about the sailor constantly negotiating the environment aboard his vessel, exposed to the liquid state and regarding east and west not as places but directions. Bucky was a 20th century visionary and inventor who has inspired my approach to life as an artist, a yoga student, a photographer, writer and explorer. I like to think of myself as the specialist in comprehensive design that he described as an emerging synthesis of artist, inventor, mechanic, objective economist and evolutionary strategist.

 

Happiness filled my entire being as I crested over the MacArthur Causeway catching a glimpse of colored flags fluttering in the rigging of various boats for the Progressive® Insurance, Strictly Sail, 2015; part of the Miami International Boat Show. Cycling downhill is the best part of any bike ride leaving Miami Beach, being rewarded for the consistent effort of pedaling hard and reaching the top of the bridge! This time, tears were swept away by the wind, as it had been five years since Bruce and I attended last with wild adventures in between: learning how to sail the Lido 14; buying a Catalina 27; coastal cruising Marina del Rey, Newport Beach, Dana Point and Catalina Island in California; finally selling our Catalina and looking to do it all over again in the waters of South Florida.

Strictly Sail felt like a turning point. We had both left our jobs at Apple after nearly a year of growth supported by a wonderful work community. I remember our manager talking to us in our first weeks explaining that some of us would stay for careers and for some of us it would be a pitstop, a stepping stone. Looking back, it was the latter for me. I had just earned the Creative position, something that I had worked very hard for over a period of months yet inside when I finally received it, I knew I had to pursue the artist and sculptor in myself: write grants, practice yoga, create work, travel, photograph prototype motorcycle racing’s MotoGP™ and share publicly a life of spatial navigation requiring fine tuned concentration, balance and absorption.

This particular Saturday afternoon I parked my bicycle by the InterContinental and made my way inside to our favorite Starbucks, one that Bruce and I frequent on most trips to mainland Miami after making South Florida our home in 2013. Walking along the water towards Bayside Marina, I prepared myself to be absolutely immersed in extraordinary sailing opportunities and I was not at all disappointed!

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Taking a lay of the land on my first day I tried New Zealand’s Nobilo Pinot Grigio, boarded a 55ft. Gunboat named as Cruising World’s 2015 Domestic Boat of the Year and made my way onto a well equipped Nautitech Open 40 that had a perfect space to unroll my yoga mat! I stopped by Hanse having many wonderful memories as crew on Thursday nights, as well as, a few taking part in The Dana Point Racing Series in CA. I was making my way back to where I began when I noticed that I had not ventured down Pier L. I walked to the end and could see Marina Stage drawing crowds with their nightly Latin music. It made me smile, happy to be back in Miami. I turned to the right and what happened next, I would not have had any other way. It was the Outremer that caught my eye!

I paused as it was near to closing but thrilled at the same time. My partner Bruce and I often wondered what it would be like to sail a catamaran in Florida, explore the islands and eventually cut through blue water. We knew that the Outremer was light, maneuvarable, spacious, strong and well built. Here before me was the perfect chance to hop aboard, photograph the 51ft vessel and perhaps be inspired to create some artwork about spatial navigation. I have heard that sailors can be trapped on land for generations, only viewing the stars by planetarium! We have been lucky to travel a bit: visiting remote and natural places by car, sailing with safety keeping the coastline in sight and exploring our immediate environments usually located within a few blocks of the beach! Perhaps another sailboat could see Bruce and I leave our coastline without any land in sight. It is a concept that we often think about, tuning into the vast ocean related to our being in the world.

Discovering Grand Large Yachting led by CEO Xavier Desmarest was the key to the weekend. The company became our host in an incredible experience where I learned about Grand Large Yachting’s three boat yards: Outremer, Garcia and Allure with service points around the globe. This was all so much more than I expected but brought truth to the French translation of le grand large meaning open ocean. The Outremer 51 was beautiful in its own right.
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I fell in love with the forward facing nav station, as well as, a bright and well appointed galley with plenty of space to move around. The view was panoramic from the inside and the outside was perfect with ergonomic seating while on watch by the tiller and unobstructed views from the helm, forward. There is this part of me that thrives on momentum; as I child I was a competitive roller skater; later as a adult, a skydiver, cyclist and a yoga student studying Ashtanga, meditation in motion. Now an artist studying the dynamic navigation of motorcycle racing, the Outremer spoke to me in a way that I could immediately relate to as I imagined being able to “admire the wake her slender hulls carve out at speed.” But as in motorcycle racing it is paramount that speed is safe and by design the Outremer is up for the challenge. One last part is the pleasure or enjoyment of speed not as a goal or an obsession but described by Outremer as an “inner sense of jubilation.” For me it is not so much about the competition but the exercise of being in the moment and sharing that way of living. Kids are the best example of it all! One night photographing Crazy Louise I spotted a boy hanging off the front of the boat by the trampoline! I had to giggle inside as he dangled free and happy only to lift himeself up and curiously watch the visotors bording his vessel.

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It was this night that we met the family of the 51ft Catamaran named Crazy Louise. Bruce and I were honored to meet a cruising family. You can read about their adventures here on Outremer’s, Le Grand Voyage, a collection of writing, photography and video of all different sorts of people traveling with their Outremer amidst the open ocean. It was quite emotional for me as I had just spent the month of January with a great friend while she home-schooled her kids from our condo on Miami Beach! We took them to Biscayne and Everglades National Park, the Keys, Wynwood, local beaches, parks and museums; they had this wonderful learning experience all here in South Florida. My chance meeting with Le Grand Large Yachting took on a similar feeling, that of a supportive network traveling, learning, sharing and inspiring one another. Le Grand Voyage as written on the Outremer website is a simple concept but one that is easily overlooked:

“Show your children that the earth is blue, benefit from a thousand and one unforgettable experiences linked to long haul sailing: there are a whole host of reasons to cast off. Sailing around the world, is about making a big project a reality. It offers a different slice of life, full of salt, spray and adventure. It’s a period we dream about, that we prepare for and that we will remember!”

I was intrigued by Xavier and his company. He worked with dedication and joy while we were visiting and photographing the Outremer 51. The feeling was one of being welcomed as friends. Each night when we arrived home I would read more and more about Le Grand Large Yachting, and its services, prepared for another day and a fresh perspective.

On one occasion it led us to Jimmy Cornell’s talk on Blue Planet Odyssey, a round the world ocean rally highlighting issues regarding climate change. Stuart Eichner from Just Catamarans held up a copy of Jimmy’s book on board Crazy Louise and not knowing at all who he was, I felt inspired to find out. The process of discovery is the most fascinating part of my work, uncovering bits and pieces that lead us to extraordinary places. I quickly found out that Jimmy Cornell an accomplished sailor, author and creator of the ARC rally, needed a vessel for both high latitude and tropical sailing. He partnered with Garcia, part of Grand Large Yachting to design the perfect boat! It was such an awesome connection.

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I could see so much passion in Jimmy as he spoke. It was great to hear a sailor share his thoughts after circumnavigated three times! His Garcia Exploration 45 named Aventura was awarded Cruising World’s and Sail Magazine’s 2015 Boat of the Year. Bruce and I had the unique opportunity to visit the hull number One at Strictly Sail and we were delighted to chat with Jimmy Cornell and later the managing director Benoit Lebizay. Jimmy and his crew aboard Aventura are now making their way towards Tahiti having just transited the Panama Canal. You can follow their journey here.

One of the most interesting parts about Jimmy Cornell’s talk was the relationship with the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO, the World Meteorological Organisation and National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Some of the participants between 2014-2017 collect much needed information by deploying autonomous scientific instruments that gather and transmit data. This is part of Blue Planet Odyssey, but there is not only one Odyssey. There are in fact many options for collecting data and sailors are necessary in the success of various tasks and observations: monitoring plastic pollution, recording marine life sightings and providing educational opportunies shared with children around the world, offering up a new perspective from another child’s eyes living aboard.

Jimmy Cornell wishes to share with the communities that have welcomed him over the years, here he conveys one of the missions important to Blue Planet Odyssey, “As this Odyssey calls at places where people’s lives are affected by climate change, we want them to know that cruising sailors care for them and empathise with their concerns.”

Buckminster Fuller created a map that projected the entire surface of the earth named The Dymaxion Map, “revealing our planet as one island in one ocean without any obvious distortion of the relative shapes and sizes of the land areas, and without splitting any continents.” This was his deck plan–described by the Buckminster Fuller Institute–creating “Spaceship Earth.” The question is, how do we fly this thing? Fuller described our Earth with a finite amount of reseources and I believe that Jimmy Cornell is spearheading the research to make leaps and bounds regarding his mission overall, which encompasses our Ocean and the key issues related to it today, endagered places, as well as, science, education and community. It is the synergy of sailors that can energize the work ahead!

Bruce and I are getting ready to join the Coconut Grove Sailing Club and delve into the Summer of the Flying Scott as we like to call it. Here will brush up on our most basic sailing knowledge on 16 ft boats. We have been landlubbers for three years! We are currently working towards public art projects regarding our natural and built environments with our own hopes of circumnavigation one day. How exciting, to get back into the groove after Strictly Sail, 2015 meeting some truly awe-inspiring people, motivating us to venture further than we ever thought possible!

 

Discovering The East Coast Greenway

A low grade climb on my bicycle used to bring up emotions, fears, dread and sometimes tears. My body needed to adjust, it needed time to acclimate to the changing terrain. My mind also needed training. It reeled at a tiny little hill seemingly familiar to the likes of a steep mountain. Embarrassingly enough, in almost the same spot every time, I would dismount, walking my bike the rest of the way. Isn’t it more fun to ride downhill anyway? About a few thousand miles and a year later I feel differently.

Our first big ride was last summer from Shelton to New Haven, CT. During this 30 mile trip, Bruce and I finally found the East Coast Greenway signs! The East Coast Greenway is a project of trails from Maine to Florida and has been coined “The Urban Appalachian Trail.” We rode a short distance from New Haven to Milford on the recommended path. It was a major milestone for us.

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Our next ride was even more important.

For weeks Bruce and I had been planning a cycle in and through Manhattan. Each time that it did not quite work out, I honestly have to confess that I felt an enormous amount of relief. There is no hesitation in New York traffic. Hesitation is an area that I work on constantly. It is the very reason why I chose skydiving and canopy piloting long ago to help with body awareness in space. The thoughts of sharing the streets with a dizzying sea of cabs, trucks, cars, pedestrians and scooters still did not settle well with me. After four months of riding a bicycle regularly I was just getting used to traffic on the outskirts of a city, however, I knew deep down inside that it must be done!

It was quite amazing and not at all what I had anticipated. Especially the part where we rode in from Stamford, CT as our bikes were not allowed on the peak train! It was just after 7am and we could either ride or wait until 10am, which would really let our wheels run free shortly after 11am. . . We couldn’t bear the four hours and took to the streets. Now it did take us six hours to get there but that time was filled with burning leg muscles, coffee and pastry stops, amazing trails, views, a short ride through Harlem and finally a sense of unbelievable accomplishment riding down FDR drive.

Bruce and I cycled out of Stamford through some small neighborhoods in Greenwich, CT. We rode through Bruce Park and then Byram Park, not long after that we were crossing the Byram River into Port Chester, NY. We passed through Rye and stopped in Mamaroneck for a recharge. Returning to our ride we cycled through New Rochelle and were delighted to find a stretch along Shore Road passing by the by the Pelham Country Club and Pelham/Split Rock Golf Course. We had our first chance of the trip here to ride a paved trail specific for bicycles and through the woods!
The little breaks were exquisite, instead of focusing on the turn by turn navigation we simply followed the trail. The East Coast Greenway continues to focus on the connections through numerous communities over 2,900 miles up and down the coast.

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Our revelry abruptly ended past the Bronx-Pelham landfill. Our navigation system asked us to jump on the Bronx and Pelham Parkway towards the Hutchinson River Parkway! Had we done something wrong? We stopped to take a good look around. Would we have to back track? Just the opposite–to our right was a small bicycle trail, adjacent to the freeway–this is where the Pelham Parkway Greenway begins, turning into the Bronx River Greenway along the official East Coast Greenway Route. The greenways were beautifully landscaped and maintained. Patrol cyclists were on duty with whistles and we had our very own miniature stop signs to safely cross expressway entrances and exit ramps.

My fears of riding through New York nearly disappeared. The organization was astounding. Just as you would think it was most complicated where the Hutchinson River Parkway, Cross Bronx Expressway and Bruckner Expressway converge we simply kept our eyes peeled for signs and bicycle friendly reroutes. We eventually decided to take the southeastern cycling route through the Bronx towards the 3rd Avenue Bridge, East Harlem and FDR Drive. While riding down Story Avenue was interesting for the historical reasons regarding breakdancing and DJ’s, next time I would love to bike inland a bit and experience more of the trail that the East Coast Greenway recommends.

Did I mention that we were on our way by Union Square to get Bruce’s hair cut?
Yes, this day was designed so that Bruce could part with twelve inches of hair and donate it to a good cause.
We selected www.childrenwithhairloss.us

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It’s been about a year now and we are living in Miami Beach. Alas, we did not cycle here. Our bikes were shipped and then “lost” for a time by a well known cycling business in the area. . . They were later “found” with the help of our shipping company, Bike Flights, whom I do highly recommend. We have put on many miles and have accumulated quite a bit of Thule gear. There was a time not long ago that I thought it impossible to have a single bag with weight on my bicycle. Now I ride with camera gear, groceries, clothes, yoga mat, whatever it takes to enjoy the day. Bruce’s hair is growing back, he is happy about that. He even had a beard for a short time. . .

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Perhaps next year we are ready for the cycle from Florida to Maine! For now there is plenty of East Coast Greenway to explore in South Florida and while Florida is quite flat I am overjoyed every time I fly down the Macarthur Causeway to the mainland. For most of this year, I had worked for Apple, cycling the ECG nearly 150 miles a week. What a feeling to come to work with the energy of cycling. I was thrilled upon discovering those green signs again and can’t wait to find more!