Sunday, December 25, 2011

A X-mas Halo!

 Saw a faint 22 deg halo along with a contrail shadow on my X-mas morning paddle on my NEW boat!  Check it out below.

The Current Designs 135!  Won it at a raffle at Support Strokes hosted by Cal Canoe & Kayak, whose owners are close neighbors.  Thanx Tammy & Keith!  Pretty sweet boat, and was happy to paddle it around  Coast Guard Island.

Cruising down the connector to Lake Merritt... but the last one is blocked off... 

Friday, December 23, 2011

Free range Kauai-an Eggs

In Kauai, you may find out that chickens are smarter than you think... and clucking away at 

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Greetings from the rainbow state!

A beautiful rainbow welcomed us 10 min prior to landing at Lihue, Kauai on our pre-Xmas vacation.  

The Shmuwabaras are all in Kauai!

Kim's folks, Steve and Margaret; my folks, Mas and Noriko; as well as Ko and Lorene are all in Hawaii, enjoying the weather, waterfalls, beaches, food, coffee, sunrises & sunsets, hiking, helicopter tours, surfing, kayaking, SUP-ing, snorkeling, and the general beauty of this island.  Amazing place... I'll divulge more later.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Post Thanxgiving Snowy Hut Inquisition Trips.

Kimbo & Kai enjoying the sunset from Robb's Peak Lookout.  

For the majority of the last few Thanxgiving holidays, I have made a point to get outside and visit a hut for the long weekend following the American tradition of eating waaaaaaay too much turkey, gravy, and mashed potatoes.  Eating leftovers with your friends in the mountain air... now I'm hungry.

James, Courtney, Kimbo, Kai, & I walking back from Robb's Peak Hut with the west side of the Crystal Range behind us.  

Here are the history of our visits:

  1. 2004 - Ludlow Hut (Matty, Don, Rebecca, Mingie)
  2. 2005 - Bradley Hut (Don, Rebecca, Mingie)
  3. 2006 - Peter Grubb Hut with Don, Rebecca, Erin, Susie, Funk, Katarina, Aleitha, Messy
  4. 2007 - Peter Grubb Hut with Marian, Kevin, Erich, Mary Lynn, Julie, Kimbo, and a bunch of doggies (Oscar, Bugsy, Jerry, and Mingus)
  5. 2008 - Peter Grubb Hut with Sara, Rob, Jiselle, Julie, Kate, Win, Alex, Ann, Kimbo, Messy, Funk, Alexis, Mi-suk, and I... and Mingus, Nickel, Sushot?, and Jerry
  6. 2009 - In Lao - ate a pig with Jasper & Funk on that town on the river. 
  7. 2010 - No Hut... Went up to Squaw with Toro for the day. 
  8. 2011 - Robb's Hut with Kai, James & Courtney
2008 - our biggest crew ever?  In the middle of multiple bottles of whiskey, wine, etc... there are games being played... an integral part of any hut trip.

Here's the gallery...

Classic moments in Hut trip history:

2007 - Peter Grubb with Disco Jerry running around.  

2007 - Oscar...

Mingie showing his trust in the ice...

One of my favorite pics of Mingie... from 2006

Lot's of icicle from our second year - 2005

A pic from the first year... at Ludlow.  With scenery like this, it's hard NOT to go back every year.  

2008 - Funk playing nails with a slightly bigger hammer...

We've caught some amazing sunsets over the years at these huts... 


Monday, November 21, 2011

Weekly Pano: The Expanding Universe @ Timber Cove

Kimbo & Kai at the base of "The Expanding Universe" obelisk at Timber Cove.  Not only a good view, but the only place in the area you can pick up a cell phone signal...

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Tutorial: Panos using your point and shoot Canon.

Chris hucking a sicky, gnar-licious, spread eagle while Nick looks on...

Since people often ask me how to make these huge's a quick tutorial.

This is for the Canon users...I'm not familiar with other brands... and Canons that has the stitch function.  Some of the older cameras have it, some of the newer ones have it as well... make sure your canon has this stitch function before you buy one.
  1. take pics in "stitch" mode...the pics will be named as STA files on the memory card.
  2. go to and download their program...and donate money if you are in the 1%... or really like them.  
  3. Run the program...and voila! an exquisite pano, ready for you to edit, print... then brag about.  
Here are some good ones...

Some tips...
When taking the pics...
  • make sure to hold the camera steady. One blurry pic is all it takes to ruin the pano.
  • you don't have to line up the pics exactly, just make sure that the pics are take level.  
  • you can organize the pics by date taken, that's the easiest way to get the pics organized.
Using autostitch...
  • I usually go to options, under "edit" and set the scale to 25% for the initial viewing...then if I like the pic, or I think it's ready for printing (8$/ft2 for matte, 10$ for glossy, and 12$ for super glossy at Copy Central on Shattuck Square in Berkeley), I'll set the scale to 100%...the rest of the options, I haven't really played with. 
  • These days I'm a pano dork, so I take a lot of panos.  Some come out ok, some don't.... it's really hard to tell when you are taking the pics to know how it's gonna turn out.  But because I've been taking so many panos, I purchased Autopano Pro, so I can stitch & render all of my images in one click.  It's a lot quicker than doing these panos one at a time... 

Tutorial: Capturing the sunset right between the golden gate bridge.

Kimbo, basking in perfect sunset glory! (from Albany Bulb)

Since I'm either outside, or would like to be outside... I have always enjoyed sunsets/sunrises.  

Anyway, after learning a little about the movements of the sun...the significance of Tropic of Cancer, and the Tropic of Capricorn...(maybe more on this later...but briefly between the two latitudes, your shadow will be directly beneath you at one point in the year...further north or south, this will never happen.)...and many other things at a talk at Costanoa with Kim (

With the curiosity, and the tools (mainly google) to solve the puzzle, I finally figured out when the sun would set exactly in the middle of the golden gate bridge.

This was possible by using National Geo Topo Program, and with the help of the U of O Solar Radiation Monitoring Lab...

Also, check this out too...

Turns out someone has already done this sort of calculations for me...
Golden Gate Sunsets is about as easy as it gets.

View Larger Map

You can calculate the same thing for the moon as well...

And if you wanna see if it's going to be good... here's a good place to look:

Monday, November 14, 2011

Weekly Pano: Timber Cove

Took a short retreat up the coast to Timber Cove Inn.  Wow, what an amazing coast line we have up there... sure would love to kayak down it... sure would hate to be washed up in the surf.  Gotta get out on the boat some more.  

Monday, November 7, 2011

Weekly Pano: Echo Lake Kayaking

At the junction of Upper and Lower Echo Lake.  That's Bernard & Kimbo paddling around on Upper Echo Lake.   Present, but not in the pic is Kai Bear... in the ergo baby carrier asleep as I took this pic.  

Friday, October 21, 2011

Kirby Kayak

Another day out on the water with Durbs.  Messy joined us for this one.  Got to go out on the Dancer!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Kayaking across the bay.

Durbs and I crossed the bay en route to Dres & Ann's baby shower. A beautiful day, a really fun paddle... picked up some Pliny, donuts, and a bagel at the Ferry building. Durbo then got on a scooter to bart to get back home.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Tuolumne Craggin (aka. Hangdoggin)

The day after climbing North Peak in Tuolumne. It's been about 3 mo. since I've climbed anything... and hopping on a 10c, then a 10d was tough.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Weekly Pano: Tuolumne Cragging

The day after Jack, Dres, Metres and I did North Peak,  there were tons of thunderheads and winds were strong at the entrance station.  That was enough to veer us away from Tenaya Peak, our original plan, and we decided to take 'er easy and go cragging on East Cottage Dome in Tuolumne with a case of PBRs.  Another beautiful day with the spot all to ourselves.

Video TR: North Coulie of North Peak

Here's the vid from the panos. Two weekends ago now.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Rainbow Falls...

... always a fun short stop to or from Yosemite... wakes you up quite nicely too.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Weekly Pano: Conness & North Peak

This past weekend, I finally got to get out into my beloved Sierra mountains.  It's been sooo long since I've climbed an alpine route in the Sierras, and I was glowing all weekend in bliss.  It was also my first time going ice climbing, when we climbed the N Coulie of North Peak.  We were planning to continue on to the N. Ridge of Conness, but the snow, as well as the thunder & lightening... and the 3 hours of sleep... forced us into making the right decision... and we hiked back out to Saddlebag.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Kayaking around Treasure Island!

Wile E Willy has been neglected for a bit... and it's been HOT here.  (We're talking 80s folks!)  So I've been finding opportunities to take him out whenever I can.  Tim, Laina, and I did the support strokes paddle last weekend put on by our neighbors who own California Canoe and Kayak.  And this weekend, I decided to venture out a bit further to Treasure Island.

Here's the map of my route from Endomondo....

The waves got pretty big around mile 3 up until mile 5.

And here's a vid of my escapades.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Old Caz 300km

Been busy taking care of the most important thing in my life.  A baby boy... so yeah, this blog will slow down a bit....

So the weekend after Jeff and I completed the Davis night 200km, we decided to go for the Old Caz 300 km brevet.  After reading the description, how could anyone resist?

Highlights included:

  • bread pudding!  
  • river crossing
  • sunrise & sunset over the g.g. bridge
  • beautiful roads
  • riding with the box dog bikes folks... great company.  

This took us 15+ hours... left a 5:30 am... got back at 9 pm or so.

Bike route 390494 - powered by Bikemap 

Here's a long time-lapse... look for the helicopters towards the end.

From Jeff:
On highway one at the top of the climb after Stinson beach there were two helicopters and bunch of police and an ambulance at the top of the cliff. One copter was grounded and the other scanning the shoreline below. We saw a rope being lowered over the cliff to (presumable) pull someone up. The road was closed but luckily they let us go by.
I just found this story online so I assume this is what happened. Adnan you should pay close attention to where they landed!

Other links

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

the night I became a randonneur...

That's right... according to Wiki (
"A rider who has successfully completed a 200 km brevet is called a randonneur. This is a lifelong title."  So my official title is going to be "Yu Kuwabara, MS, MPH, Randonneur", which will be impressive to anyone that doesn't know French.  

So this past Sat night, Jeff and I did the Davis night 200 km Brevet, an event put on by the SF randonneurs.  These guys host a number of these types of rides... and 200 km is one of their "short rides."  They also have a good ride archive site, a good resource for those looking to do those 400 km rides in the bay area.  This ride started in Hercules, crossed the Carquinez bridge, up to Davis, and back... and it was actually more like 230 km, not 200 as advertised.  Alas, now that Kimbo is ready to go into labor at any moment, I've gotta stay in the bay area... so the bike is keeping me busy these days... also explains my absence in the Sierras... 

There were around 30 riders on the ride, all various ages, on a variety of bikes (touring, road).  Jeff and I ended up riding with James and Masa who were training for PBP!  (the pic above is of us at the end of the ride, at 6 am!)  Masa, a Japanese cyclist working in Palo Alto had just done a ride last week where they went 300 km on Sat and 200 km back on Sun!  James had the coolest bike I had ever seen... check it out:

Titanium frame with S&S couplings.
Schmidt Dynamo Hubs (these power the lights & the GPS - via USB)
PowerTap Hub (measuring the power output) on the rear
Heart Rate monitor, etc...

With their team work against the headwind we ended up finishing the ride a little after sunrise at 6 am for a total of 10 hours.

Here were the highlights:
  • Watching the sunset while riding across the Carquinez (Alfred Zampa Memorial) Bridge.
  • My first event where I did something physical all night... as in sunset to sunrise.  
  • My first brevet
  • Talking to the veterans about the longer rides (400, 600, 1200 km brevets)
  • Seeing a house cat running along side us, then cutting in front of us for about 1/4 of a mile... never seen a cat move so fast.
  • No mechanicals...
  • Beef Jerkey at my second control point (mmmm)
  • Sunrise on the Carquinez Bridge
And the not-so-highlights

  • my butt... on such a flat ride, you are in the same position for so long... 
  • The crazy headwind for the final 20 miles
  • the drive home...
  • sunday at noon, being in delirium after a short nap.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Weekly Pano: Shasta Sunrise

Went on my annual pilgrimage up Shasta for my 16th summit.  Woke up with a headache, feeling a bit sick, and coughing... but this sunrise gave me a bit of power to push my way to the top.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Weekly Pano: Jenner Beach

    A mile down the road from where D's 30th B-day carnage took place.  Where the Russian River meets the  
    Pacific Ocean.  Hoeft and I kayaked out there later.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Weekly Pano: Frogland!

From the top of Frogland (5.8, 6 pitches) in Red Rock's outside of Vegas.  In fact you can see the strip in the middle of the pano if you look close enough.  This was Toro's first time climbing outside... so Pia and I took him on a 6 pitch trad climb in a 3 person team... after driving all night... and eating McDonald's... behind a slow team.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Weekly Pano: Oakland Harbour

I bet you never thought the Bay Bridge was so pretty!  Well, it is from the water.  Funk, Seabass & I on a paddle from Middle Harbour Park in Oakland on Cinco de Mayo.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Weekly Pano: Tahoe w.Kimbo

    On the way to Kirkwood... Kimbo and I stopped at the beach to let Mingie out and let the snow soften up.  

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Weekly Pano: Tour of California

Rode out to the finish line of Stage 4 of the Tour of California... the stage that the race was determined.  It was here that Chris Horner decided to blow past everyone and arrive at the finish line 1:38 ahead of everyone... and eventually win the whole tour... Very cool.  Great views, a fun ride (50 miles RT from Union City BART on fun roads 1/2 of it closed due to the tour), and a beautiful day.  

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


Weehaw... played around with my Canon camera using CHDK and found a script called, "motion detection."  So I left the camera on a tripod and got some nice pics.

Anna's - Male?


More pics here.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Monday, May 2, 2011

Panos from the Sawtooths

Some pics from touring the Sawtooths the other weekend with Miley, Funk & Splitboard.  Here's a shot of  Kettle Peak from the Incredible Hulk.  You can see the chute Nick and I skied coming down the middle of Kettle.  To the right is Hunewill, I believe... from day 1

Here's Nick coming up Kettle peak with the Hulk in the background.  We booted up a chute that you can't really see in the pic above.  We skied down that on our first lap, then did the other one for our second lap.... from day 2

The weather was quite, "unsettled" the entire trip.  Here's nick and the Hulk on day 3 of our tour heading up to the end of Little Slide Canyon.  Pretty cool light for photos... not so much for skiing.  

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Weekly Pano: Ski Dreams on Matterhorn

This pic is from three weekends ago now... Day 1 of our group's (Moses, Kev, B-ral, and I) East Side tour... we decided to "warm up" on the Matterhorn... not realizing that 1/2 a foot of snow had fallen in the area.  The original, ambitious plan was to do Mt. Tom on Day 2... with an alpine start.  This is a pic of a N. Lake couple who broke trail for us except for the top 200 feet or so... w/o their tracks we probably would not have made it up to the notch... thanx Arlo & Amber!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Timelapse: Tahoe Storm

Caught a nice sunset from our neighborhood on Fri night after skiing a surprisingly good day at Squaw with Moses & B-ral.  Too bad the battery ran out in the middle... alas.  Watch in HD, if you can...

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Weekly Pano: Mavericks

I took a break from the mountains last weekend as Kimbo and I went down the coast to Davenport to celebrate our (4th) anniversary.  On the way down we stopped at Pillar Point, where Kimbo and I previously took a sea kayaking class "open coast" from California Canoe and Kayak (highly recommended btw).  This is the site of Mavericks, the legendary surf break where big wave surfer Mark Foo lost his life in 1994.