Richard Doron Johnson

September 30, 2007

Wow, I never Knew?

Filed under: 1 — rjjazz @ 1:24 pm

I am extremely impressed with Toronto Canada.

I really did not know what to expect before coming here for an extended period of time. I had been to Toronto three times before but it was only for a day since I was performing or running. I can truly say I have experienced the city now. Toronto reminds me a lot of New York City.

The city has:

1. An underground and over ground metro system which is very efficient.
2. The downtown financial district is the 4th biggest in North America behind Chicago.
3. Hockey Hall of fame (They love their Hockey)
4. CN Tower 1815 ft look out tower with a glass floor you can walk on
5. Casa Loma- A castle built between 1911-1915 by Sir Henry Pellat. http://www.casaloma.com
6. 14km of Underground malls consisting of 4 floors
7. The Toronto Marathon on Lakeshore Dr
8. Royal Ontario Museum
9. The Bata Shoe Museum
10. Tim Horton’s- my favorite place to eat on the run (Literally)
11. Much Music- Their version of MTV

The list really can go on and on. The entire 5 days I was there I was busy from sun up into the middle of the night. I will definitely go back to Toronto soon. If for some reason in the summer I show up missing in the United States just go to Toronto (Joe Mama’s) and ask for Mike Laury (Bad Boys I).

You might be shocked who you see!

Here are a few photos from my field trip this week!

Looking out from the CN Tower.

The Blue and White building is the location where I stayed in Toronto right on King St.

Glass floor you can stand on and look below from 1815ft up!

People getting crazy sitting on the floor taking photos on the glass floor.

One of the tallest buildings in Toronto has all the windows insulated with gold for the winter so it keeps the heat in.

Hockey Hall of fame!

City life!

Is this New York City?

This guy looks a bit Blue!

The Crystal Museum!

Museum

Another view of the same.

Royal Conservatory of Music!

The Famous “Casa Loma.”

The entrance to the Castle “Casa Loma”

The ceiling in the green room of the Castle!

The Green room were they often had meetings in the Castle.

The whole Green room!

The back of the Castle over looking the City of Toronto.

The servants dinning room where the owners would eat with them when they had no guest!

The fireplace in the study!

The tea room.

One of the four pianos in the house which consist of 98 rooms total!

The Mrs. Bedroom

State of the art bathroom for 1914.

Check out this Shower!

The Mr. Bedroom!

Guest entertainment room!

Since I am a guest I figured I should take a photo in the guest room!

The meeting room upstairs! This family was beyond wealthy!

An expensive pipe organ even by todays standards.

The library.

A view of Toronto downtown from a boat tour I took that lasted an hour.

Once a private Yacht Club on the island.


The CN Tower. Remember the glass floor at the top where people were jumping on it at 1815ft…hummm?

Local Monument.

One of the countless churches that I have photographed.

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September 23, 2007

Run on and on

Filed under: 1 — rjjazz @ 9:06 pm

Can you believe I am still sitting here at the Miami, FL airport and they just told me this plane has issues too. Maybe this is not my day to fly. This is my third flight today that has had problems. Well, at least right now I am on the ground in one piece. I guess I won’t be running 20 miles today since I am spending all my time here. Other than that nothing is really new. Tomorrow I take off for my next adventure leading north up to Toronto, Canada. Since I am in no rush I will be driving and sight seeing once again this year. Many people have asked the question, Why I have chosen to visit Toronto. Well the answer is I have been there four times before in the past but have never had a chance to spend anytime running around the city seeing any sights (I mean this literally and figuratively).

On September 30th at 7am I will be running the Toronto Half-Marathon which is 13.1 miles or 21km. This course is supposed to really great and the time of year is awesome for running. I had the great fortune to be given a free entry back in January when I ran/ coached at the Miami Marathon. During the Expo I had a chance to meet about 60% of the United States prominent race directors and befriend them. I figure after having run around the world in three months I will either have gained some great running potential or just burnt myself out completely. I have been really blessed the last few weeks though because ever since the last week of the Blue Planet Run I have been running between 80-90 mile weeks with no problems. My dad likes to make fun of me and say, “I don’t even drive that much in one week going to and from my job.” This type of mileage won’t last that long but it is good to know that I have grown to the point where I can handle it with no problem if all the other conditions are executed.

Most people say I am an excessive person when it comes to doing something I really want to do and I guess this correct because it has proven itself in the music world and the running world. Lately people have been asking me what is next on my list of things to do. I often say I am still brain storming, which I am but something is going to becoming next year if I am given the chance to close the deal?

Somewhere in the middle of Someplace while out running!

Remembering the Day

Filed under: 1 — rjjazz @ 8:13 pm

As I sit here in the Miami Fl airport stuck because my second flight for the day has had mechanical problems, I am uploading photos for those of you to see the wedding I attending yesterday. For those of you who are married hopefully these photos will spark some great memories. For those who are not married and have no intentions maybe this will change your mind.

The setting outside for the ceremony.

As she walks down the isle.

Signing the papers and making it all legal!

Doesn’t the back drop look fake?

The wedding party.

The reception!

My parents enjoying the moment!

My mom breaks it down alone until my dad  finishes taking the photo!

Gordon and I showing the new Mrs. Johnson how we Johnson’s get down once we find that special someone. Later that night she said you guys are all crazy and I guess I am too for marrying into the clan!

September 21, 2007

Love Found!

Filed under: 1, Life on the Road — rjjazz @ 9:03 pm

Today my journeys have taken me to Montego Bay Jamaica. The reason for traveling to this destination is my cousins Gordon’s wedding. For the past 7 months he and his fiancée have been planning this occasion to begin the rest of their lives together. They have chosen this location because it is out of the United States but still close enough for friends and family to get to. I have been to this island four times total now for music related reasons and it is a great place to visit. The resort we are staying at is called “Half Moon” It is your typical resort meaning nothing under the top and nothing over the top. What I do like about it is that is not far from the airport and is very easy to get to.

Since arriving this past Thursday afternoon I am finding the humidity to be very similar to the Dominican Republic. I am not a fan of the humidity but my love for my family out weighs my dislike of three days of humid weather. Let me be one of the first to say “ Congratulations to Gordon for making the big leap.” I used to think that making the big leap was a scary venture. Although it can be, I am seeing that once you encounter your better half making the leap becomes a lot easier since you have two sets of legs to land on instead of one!

Here are a few photos from this weeks location. I hope you can enjoy them from your computer screen.

The Half Moon Hotel in Montego Bay!

The fountain in the lobby of the Half Moon!

The arrival at the hotel.

This is where the real love is shown!

Gordon and I chilling on the beach.

Three hours before he says ” I do!”

Life and beyond!

Me wondering is my time coming soon???????????????????

September 16, 2007

Run to the Moon!

Filed under: Uncategorized — rjjazz @ 12:56 am

I love Flagstaff, AZ. The temperature here is great and so is the people. This morning I woke up and went for a run a Buffalo Park which was about 3 miles from my hotel. I had heard there was plenty of trails in this town but the one that was most talked about was this park. After arriving here and seeing the map of the two mile gravel loop I was ready begin my 12 mile run at 6am. After working out I went to the hotel to rest for awhile since I was in no immediate hurry. While there I decided to give Northern Arizona University a call to see if there “High Altitude training center was free to observe. After talking to the secretary for awhile and explaining to her that I just finished running around world, she thought that her boss would be interested in talking to me. The next thing I knew I was on the phone with the famous “Jack Daniels.” If you don’t know who he is the running community, he is one of the legends on this planet that has coached thousands of runners to a successful marathon. Our conversation lasted for about an hour and ended with an invite to his office so we could talk further in the afternoon.

Next on my list was to visit the Lowell Observatory on Mars Hill. During my research of the city I noticed this was one of the most interesting things do here so off I went. I did not know what to expect but I was very glad I went.

The entrance to the Observatory!


The Lowell Observatory!

View the heavens through Percival Lowell’s 24″ Alvan Clark refractor.

Flagstaff, AZ overview look from Mars Hill!

The view from the Observatory on the way out!

After leaving the Observatory I decided it was time to get a smoothie at a local shop. While walking around the small town and seeing what it had to offer I quickly fell in Love with this city. By now the time was 3pm and I had to start heading to Phoenix which is 150 miles south. While driving through the town getting my last glimpse of this wonderful city I noticed this guy standing across the street from this Coffee shop. I immediately thought to myself that guy looks just like Abdi Abdirahman the Olympic marathon hopeful for this year. I recognized him because just that morning I was looking at his Biography on the web. I quickly stopped the car drove around the block and waited outside the coffee shop. As he walked out I asked him was his name Abdi, he replied “yes.” we immediately started talking about running and mileage. i asked him about a great location in town to train at and he then began to tell me about a great running spot called “Buffalo Park”. I then told him that I was there at 6am this morning training an he said that he was there also at the same time.

Next during our conversation he brought up Jack Daniels and that he was heading over to his office to hang out. I said what a coincidence! We then rode over to the office and Jack was gone. I was still very excited though to have meet Abdi. We ended up talking for about 2 hours and then I had to go since I had a 2:30hr drive ahead of me. While driving I thought to myself “I must be one of the luckiest or blessed guys on the planet to keep bumping into people that I have an interest in meeting.

Abdi Abdirahman (2:08 Chicago marathon 2006) and I posing after meeting at the local coffee shop in Flagstaff!

September 14, 2007

Grand Canyon Day

Filed under: Uncategorized — rjjazz @ 2:29 am

Todays adventure began with me waking up at 4am. I had to get up at this time in order to get ready to leave at 5am and make the 52 mile drive from Williams, AZ to the Grand Canyon. The plan was to arrive at the Canyon in time to see th sun rise and get there before most of the traffic arrives. At 5:52am it was still dark and I had 13 miles left to drive. I was starting to get nervous because I did not want my waking up early to be in vain. By 6am I was paying the entrance fee of $25 into the park and then the toll man said ” 6 miles straight ahead to the Canyon.” He knew exactly why I was here so early and did not even need me to ask. At 6:06am I pulled up and jumped out the car and hurried to the look out point where about 200 other people were already waiting. Man, I made it just in time!

Sunrise at 6:09am

As the sun rises a look down in the Canyon!

Another view from a different angle looking down!

Can you see the shadow over the Canyon?

Here I am showing the world I made it to the top!

This photo is for all the Blue Planet Run fans!

It looked like this guy was going to jump so I wanted to get it on camera just in case!

After spending 45 minutes here taking photos and talking to all the visitors from Japan and Germany I headed over to the “Bright Angel Trail.” This was one of the 3 trails they have with numerous distances to hike. I had planned on going to the bottom which was 12 miles total.

Yes, I know I am still wearing my Blue Planet gear. I can’t help it now!

This is the first step of my journey down the canyon on the “Bright Angel Trail” which is 12 miles round trip.

A tunnel at mile one you must pass through.

These steps reminded me of the Great Wall in China!

At mile 1.5 these guys passed me looking happy and smiling. I started to think hummmmmmm?

At mile 2 it the bottom looked a little closer, I think?

Me on a safe ledge just in case the wind picks up.

The half way point where I sat for 20 minutes thinking do I want to keep going down! After spending 3 hours going 3 miles down I decided its time to go up. I could have gone all the way down but I did not have 10 hours to spend just in the Canyon hiking. Next time I am taking a mule!

My next stop in the Canyon was the Desert View Trading Post.

This tower over looks the canyon and is located 25 miles from the main tourist area. You can walk 70 ft up to the top and look out over the Canyon as far as the eye can see!

The inside of the Tower looking up!

The second floor of the tower!

The artwork from 1933 is amazing!

Today was amazing and I recommend everyone to come here and see this grand site. This is one of my top five places to visit in the world and to think it is right in the United States. If your wondering what my top five locations are in the world, leave a comment on this blog and when I get at least five comments I will post my top five locations on the planet to visit.

September 10, 2007

The End Has Come!

Filed under: Uncategorized — rjjazz @ 12:04 am

Here are a few extra photos from my Santo Domingo trip that I would like to share with those of you out there enjoying the internet journey!

Here is the hotel that I stayed at in Santo Domingo, DR.

The Hotel Hodelphas inside lobby.

Behind the hotel is this lovely bridge connecting two opposite sides of town!

During my morning walk I bumped into this.

And this too!

A view of the Inter-Continental hotel from AFAR!

The real deal up close!

The trip has been most pleasant up to this point and I will return in the near future for a longer trip to really dive into what this country has to offer. In a few hours I will be heading back to New York City for some  music related work at LaGuardia High School for two days. I hope the updates that all of you have been following have been very eye capturing and will inspire you to get up and get out.  The World awaits for you!

September 8, 2007

What a day!

Filed under: Uncategorized — rjjazz @ 1:19 pm

After waking up and having a good run and swim, I decided to check out as late as possible which meant 11:59am. I decided to take the but into Santo Domingo because a car was $150 one way (Plus I wanted to see the real Dominican Republic). Boy was this a trip. It started by me missing three buses waiting out front of the resort because the first bell man told me that the bus was coming on the opposite side of the street and then an hour later a security guard told me that that was incorrect. Once the bus slowed down for me, I had to run 100 meters with my 43 pound luggage bag and and 15 pound backpack at 1pm.

My fist stop was “Si Trabupo” This was the first bus stop I had to make. After exiting the bus and buying a snapple the second bus came right away. This bus stopped every 80 meters for the first 10 miles to pick up and drop off someone. I could not believe it. Then I made the switch to the next bus and I had about 10 minutes to wait. While waiting for the bus I bought 2 gatorades even though I only wanted one. The locals could see right away that I was from the United States and they took me for a ride literally. Once I got on the bus there was about 10 empty seats and no one would let me sit down. I know my Spanish is not that bad but they kept telling me that Someone was sitting in all the seats while laughing with a straight face as I went to the next seat. After 10 minutes of this the attendant told me to just sit on the floor for the ride which I did. During the ride they did play the movie “War” which I wanted to see so that helped me calm down. After 2 hours on the floor of the bus my Cullo was killing me and the guy next to me could see that. He then was nice enough to offer me his seat next to his friend and w began to talk a bit. I was more than thankful for this guy and his friend because they also gave me some crackers. By 5:15pm I had made it to the middle of Santo Domingo. The next step for me was to find my hotel. After exiting the bus a taxi found me and he took me to the hotel “Hodelpha.” The ride was only about 1o minutes and I was glad because I needed some air condition. I was so happy to see this hotel was right in the middle of all the city traffic and was a nice clean place. Immediately after checking in I went out to walk around since I only had about 2 hours left of day light. I started loving this city right away! I walked a good 3 miles just looking at everyone that looked like me but I was hearing the fastest speaking of the Spanish language I have ever heard. I thought my Spanish was good until I got here. It is like they are speaking to me in Persian.

Next on my list to do was eat at a small Dominican place which I did but since I was in a tourist area the price was like being on the resort. By 8pm I headed back to the hotel to rest because I was surely going out tonight if it kills me.

High School band plays United States standard marching band songs, this was funny!

September 7, 2007

Punta Cana Day 2 and 3

Filed under: Uncategorized — rjjazz @ 12:53 pm

Thursday was a most relaxing day here on the resort grounds. The night before I did not go out even though I was told there was a great club about 30 minutes away. I was tired and beat so I stayed in after running twice during the day. I did though at 11pm go to the resort lounge to find a sad band playing but right next to them was a small dance party going on with the guest from Holland that was stuck at the resort because their plane broke down. There was about 40 people there dancing and having a good time since they couldn’t leave at all. After having small conversations (hearing this is the 4th plane to break in three days for them) of little meaning I decided to return to my room so that I could rest some more.

The following morning during my run I ended up finding myself in another resort (Club Med) because I had run so far up the beach. Now this resort was a singles resort. There were people on the beach, Salsa music was going and people were eating at 8am. I was thinking to myself “Do these people here sleep at all?” After deciding to take a 15 minute break half way through my run to look around I headed back to my nice, quite, couples resort.

After my run I went to eat breakfast near the beach in a wonderful out location on the resort. While eating I noticed about 40 couples eating breakfast having a great time. After about 15 minutes I realized that numerous different staff had asked me in Spanish if I was alone. I guess they thought it was weird I was at the resort alone. Once they figured this out they began to ask me about how get to the United States to live. I even had one waiter ask to me to translate into English “Lady in Red” a song he was carrying around in his pocket it looked like for months. He was a nice guy though so I did it since I was in no hurry.

Next on my list was going to the beach. I am not a big beach person but I ended up staying out there for about 2 hours swimming and roasting along with the others guest. I do like the water here because it is clear and clean as a window with fish on the other side. Later that evening I decided to check out the pool at the resort since it was located right in the center of the resort.

This pool was great when the beach was pounding me with the heat!

On Friday I decided I should go at least go to the local mall since the resort offered a shuttle there. On the list at the hotel there were about 18 stores so I figured it must be a pretty decent location. The shuttle was supposed to leave at 10am but did not arrive until 10:30am. This usually is a give away to something being strange. The trip there took all of 10 minutes total since it was right across from the airport. During my ride I noticed the return shuttle was at 11am. I was thinking was this right? After getting there and walking around with 2 plane repair men we noticed this mall was smaller than a kids playhouse at Burger King. The guys with me luggage did not arrive so they were trying to buy some new gear at the mall for the next 2 days. After going through the one clothing shop, they each found one of each item they needed but since one guy was 6’7 ft tall and the other was 5’2 nothing fit them.

After waiting for the shuttle for 30 minutes, it finally came. Upon trying to get into the shuttle the driver told me he was going to turn around first before I entered the car. When he turned around he never slowed down and drove off. I was thinking you must be joking me. This was the same guy who dropped me off so he knows I was going back to the hotel. It was about 90 degrees out there and not having any shade did not help me. While I was riding over to the mall I was thinking it was not more then 5 miles to the hotel but I never thought I might really find out the hard way via walking or running. After trying to figure out what to do I walked across the street to the airport and bumped into to Tall and To Short (no punt intended). They were nice guys and said they were heading back to the hotel in about 15 minutes if I wanted a ride to come along since they can charge it to the airline for free since they are working. They kept telling me they are here for work but could not do anything until the parts they needed showed up on another plane from Europe. I was more than happy to see these guys because I did not want to do another 5 miles at all at 11:45am in the heat.

Here is the small mall that took 7 minutes to walk through and I walk slow!

My Daddy Yankee pose!

Right before I checked out of the hotel.

This is a great resort if you are here with your significant other or just want to get away. I would not come here if your looking for action and all. For me it was great because I needed a break for a few days. Would I come here again to this resort I ask myself? Maybe if I was “involved” or hiding from the Russian government for interfering with the KGB’s plans tooooo?

As I waited under a tree for an hour for the bus to Santo Domingo I captured this sign!

September 6, 2007

Here I am!

Filed under: Uncategorized — rjjazz @ 8:06 pm

The entrance sign and logo to the resort I am staying in.

The walk way to the front desk.

The salad I ate at dinner and boy was it good!

The Rossotto was great too! This dinner reminds of a previous dinner I ate last year in Seattle.

Sitting at the beach in the heat!

Me thinking about not having to run even though I did 10 miles in the morning!

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