Category Archives: Vacation

Hiking the Twin Falls Trail on Maui

On our recent vacation to Hawaii one of our stops was the island of Maui. Maui was kind of frustrating. We signed up for a couple of excursions and neither one of them turned out the way we planned. We signed up for a snorkeling excursion that was scrubbed because of fuel pump problems with the boat that was supposed to take us but that may have been a good thing the locals told us because swells were kind of high and it would not have been a pleasant boat ride. So, okay plus we booked the excursion through the ship so they refunded everything 100%. I think we may have dodged a bullet, more to come on that in a later post.

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Brave smiles in the rain waiting for the hike to start.

The other excursion, we didn’t go through the ship, we signed up online through “Hike Maui” a local Maui outfit that does excursions independent of the ship but that coordinates the timing of some of their excursions with the schedule of the ship’s coming and goings. Well we signed up way ahead of time and the way it is that there are no refunds. The trouble was that after we signed up, Logan badly sprained his ankle and had to wear a big ole “boot.” A medieval torture contraption updated with hard plastic and numerous velcro straps.

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Pineapple growing wild. I thought indeed that was wild.

So anyway we thought we would go to the pickup spot at the designated time and talk to the guide. He looked pretty hesitant and talked about how muddy it would be and the rocks, boulders, and roots we would encounter and that we would have to walk through water a lot and climb and that we need to think of this as more of an adventure hike because it definitely a walk through a city park. Of course the more he talked about how tough it is the more I wanted to go. He capped it off by saying that if it were him, he would not go. Oh. So Heather said, Alan you go, we’ll stay here. I was reluctant but I got on the van.

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I forget what kind of berries these are but loved the color.

And then the guide went and talked to Heather and Logan some more then next thing I knew they got on the van also. The plan was that the guide thought there would be a couple of waterfalls that they could go to without going the rest of the trip. So off we went

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Heather and Logan going through the gate. The last I saw of them for hours and hours.

It seemed it was about a half hour drive or so to the parking lot through a lot of interesting landscape. Lots of cane sugar fields and other things to see. Our guide a very engaging young man gave us a running commentary of everything we saw. He talked about the heavy environmental cost of cane sugar growing and a lot of the natural history of area and good restaurants and bars to try. He was definitely environmentally minded and had a lot of insights.

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Did I mention that it was raining. Raining a lot.

We got to the parking lot and it started raining. Not too hard but pretty steady, the kind of steady that tells you that is not going to quit any time soon. We got out of the van and he passed out the lunches for later and off we went. He stopped quite often to point out a tree a tree, bush, or plant and explain what it was, whether it was indigenous to the island or where it came from.  He was a walking encyclopedia of plants. Many of them were edible and we’d try them. After a short while he pointed Heather and Logan to a gate and said that where they needed to go was that way.

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Old guys don’t bend down very well. This was a head bumper for me.

Right after Heather and Logan split off we entered the above kind of obstacle. There is no way that Logan could have done that with his bum ankle. I started worrying right away about them two because we were going to be gone for about three more hours and that is a long time to wait in the rain.

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But as we pressed on ahead we rain into a canal. Maui’s extensive canal system was installed starting in the 1870’s by the sugar can growers of the central valley to move water from the windward side of Maui where there is lots of rain to the valley where it is arid. It is an engineering marvel but very controversial locally. It was basically built by hand. It is known as the “East Maui Irrigation System.” I thought the whole thing is fascinating. The sugar industry dominated Hawaii for over a 100 years but no longer with the rise of international business and corn syrup sugar cane is a dying industry.

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See those rocks? They are pretty darn slick.

Anyways we journeyed on sometimes walking on two track roads or single track paths and often up streams like this. Those dang rocks were often pretty slippery and again I was glad Logan was along because that would not have worked out.  Our hike took us to five waterfalls and they were all beautiful. In some the water was deep enough for people to dive in. The scene was all very exotic for this guy from Oklahoma.

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We walked right up the stream for some of the way. It was not a sandy bottom either. It was those darned slick rocks.

The owners of the land leave the trails open to public which is exceedingly generous. There are no signs though and the trails are maze. I wouldn’t attempt to hike this without a guide unless I knew where I was going because it would be easy to get lost. Besides our guide kept up a walking commentary on everything we saw.

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Fallen trees and roots. I liked them better than the rocks.

More of the trails. It was a lot of hard work. Somewhere along here, or actually before this I lost my eyeglasses. That’s right I suddenly noticed they were gone and even though I backtracked a ways I couldn’t find them. Oh well.

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Hiking along the canal system. The sporting people got in the canal and went through the tunnel walking in the canal. I took the path the left around the tunnel.

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Another one of the waterfalls and pools. These are such a treasure and again very generous of the landowners to allow people to see them. No admission charge or anything.

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Another waterfall. I don’t think that it was this one but at one of them, a girl in another group showed up with one of those thong or g-string bikinis with her butt just out there for everybody to see, women, men, children everybody got a view whether they wanted to or not. I guess she was proud of it or something. Generally at these pools there was a lot of talking going on but everybody stopped talking while she paraded around. Our guide had a look of “seriously girl” on his face. I generally feel free to take a picture of everything I see in a public place but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I’m not a prude but “seriously girl?” is my attitude also. Of course maybe I am a prude. Later on in the trip on the island of Kauai I saw mothers of young children wearing the same type suit. Or lack of suit.

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And this was the next to last pool of the day, Twin Falls right by the road. By this time I was really concerned about Heather and Logan because the rain was still falling and there wasn’t any shelter. Still no bars on the cell phone, and no sign of them and this was where they were supposed to be hanging out.

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So I walked around and around and talked to people. Suddenly my cell phone found a bar up popped a some text’s. They were already back at the ship. With the rocks and stuff Logan could’t get down to the pond he supposed to go to so they went back to the parking lot and got a ride home from the same guide service but a different guide. I should have known that Heather was resourceful.

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Again, no idea what it is except that it is colorful.

So I was able to relax a little bit.

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The last pool of the day. The guide was talking about how almost everybody misses it even though it is right by the parking lot. Like I said, one can hike these trails by themselves but you will miss a lot. The trails are a maze and it is easy to get turned around. While I was looking for my crew some lady stopped me in the parking lot and told me should couldn’t find any of the falls even though she could hear the river. I pointed her down the trail to this pool. I hope that she made it.

All in all it was quite an adventure we had a great guide that paced things to make sure that everybody was keeping up, pointed out a lot of the local natural history to us and made things very interesting. I would recommend Hike Maui to anybody except I would say that this particular hike is a lot more strenuous than what they put on their web site. If I were to do it over again I would bring along some sturdy hiking sandals or something that could get soaked and muddy and cleaned off as well along with some tech clothes to wear in the rain because cotton is not what is needed.

Or if you want to go hike it yourself here is a map. Just look for the Twin Falls fruit stand on the road to Hana about thirty minutes or so east of Kahului, the major town in Maui.

Blue Bayou Monday

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I’ve been back from vacation a full week now and although I love my job and the peopleI with my mind tends to wander back to the Bon Secour River near Mobile Bay.

Oh well, we got bills to pay and a kid to educated. Work, work, work!!

Where does your mind wander?

Water World Wednesday – At the Beach

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We were on vacation last week on the Alabama coast. The coast means beach and the beach means water, lots of water. I had some waterproof recyclable cameras and I took them out in the water. They are not as good as digital cameras but they took a good soaking and kept on going. And to be truthful I like the timeless look that some of them like the above have.

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I could fearlessly hold the cameras just a few inches off the water. I have a “waterproof” camera also but I would never risk it. Sorry, I’m an engineer and I don’t care how good the seals and gaskets are, they will fail at some point.

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I beg your pardon for the selfie. And no, I wasn’t drunk.  After getting a gouge taken out of my forehead this year I’m in a high spf mode these days, note the big hat and the technical shirt which worked great in the water. I didn’t feel weighed down or uncomfortable at all.

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Well, this is more like it. Heather and I really like the beach.

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Another pic of son, He is a great swimmer and is like a fish. We’ve been taking him to the beach for years.

Water World Wednesday

Our World – Kayaking the Bon Secour River

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A highlight of this year’s vacation to the “Redneck Riviera” of Orange Beach/Gulf Shores, Alabama was a kayak ride down the Bon Secour River which feeds into Mobile Bay.

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We rented the kayaks from BeachNRiver Kayak Rentals near the town of Foley. BeachNRiver is located on a creek just a few hundred yards from the Bon Secour so it is very handy an d “Ranger Rick” and “Beaching Betty” the hosts were very nice and informative and made sure that we were ready for our outing. We used BeachNRiver three years ago on our first trip to the area and loved the experience so much we came back. (I can’t find my post fromthat trip!!! or I would link to it) They do a great job.

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The river flows very slowly and is free of obstacles so the kayaking is pretty easy going both downstream and upstream.

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The river is pretty narrow at first but soon opens up. There are lots of houses backing up to the river with boat docks facing the river. They ranged from just shacks to some pretty luxurious homes and everything in between.

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We passed a few motorboat and sailboats on our trip. Every one of them idled down to not make a wake as they passed us and the people on board always had a comment or two as we we went by. The river is a happy place and the people using it are very respectful of each other.

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A highlight of the trip was a dolphin we say making its way slowly upriver. All I had for cameras were waterproof recyclables so I don’t have a good pic of the dolphin, or any pic for that matter but still it was great to see. The dolphin was surfacing frequently and I could hear it “breathing” which is something I had never heard before.

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The great thing about a kayak is that you are almost at one with the water. You can glide over sandbars and just kind of cruise along and feel like you are part of the river. They are easy to maneuver and propel. It is a little tricking getting in and out of them if you are not used to it.

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In addition to the dolphin we saw lots of ducks, herons, and pelicans.

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Our outing took a little less than four hours and we were a good tired when we were done. We all agreed that the expedition was the highlight of our vacation. We loved the beach but it was nice to get away from all the hustle, bustle, and people for a few hours.

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Our World Tuesday

Water World Wednesday – Fun on the Water

From our recent trip to Idaho.

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Canoes make great photographic subjects, interesting shapes, bright colors, and nice reflections.

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But really they are meant to be used. This is our family flotilla during our recent outing in Idaho.

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BIL Irv really looks good by himself in the canoe. He really looks like he know what he is doing.

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A little bit later grandson Mr. Beans and my sister Ellen joined them. Notice Irv’s technique of sitting in the back and letting the other two do all the work. That is how we guys do it.

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And there is Sweetie and SuperPizzaBoy. I joined them a little later.

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After a stern warning to SuperPizzaBoy to not overturn the canoe. Nothing tickles his funny bone than topping dad into the deep. I had the good camera with me. We paddled around a bit. Of course nobody else had a camera, so you will have to take my word for it.

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Nothing like fun on the water in Idaho is there?

Water World Wednesday

Our World – Kayaking on Cotton Bayou

On our recent trip to Orange Beach, Alabama we went on a little kayaking expedition on Cotton Bayou.

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We picked out the kayaks, got life vests, paddles and a map and off we went.

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SuperPizzaBoy really took to it and did very well.

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He left the old man in the dust, so to speak.

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Sweetie was looking good also. She always looks good, kayak or not.

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The bayou was busy. We got attached by a pirate boat. The pirates were all yealling “ARGH!!!” but we got away.

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Or maybe they are the ones that got away?

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For some reason Sweetie had the map. How did she get the map. I’m supposed to have the map. That way I can be telling her stuff, not she tellling me stuff. Do you like the thumb action in the photo?

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We pulled up on a deserted island for a lunch of peanut butter sandwhiches.

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And here’s a YogiCam view of the return trip. Tell you what my quads were burning after this trek but we had fun.

Our World Tuesday

ABC Wednesday – W is for …

If you are back from a beach vaation then W has to be Water!

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We swam in it. SuperPizzaBoy is part fish I think.

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We saw boats in it.

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We even saw a few people even walking on water.

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And then way far off we saw some ghostly sinister shapes on the water.

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There were pelicans trying to catch dinner.

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All sorts of foolishness was going on in the water. Not all of it can be explained. I mean I could explain it but you wouldn’t understand it. I took 616 photographs on our trip, 282 of them have a “water” tag.

ABC Wednesday

Our World – Back from Vacation

We are back from vacation. We went down to Orange Beach, Alabama for a week.

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We hung out on the beach a lot. Some of us tanned, others of us got toasted.

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We went kayaking one day. Nothing like kayaking through a busy bay.

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We saw some dolphins playing. That was quite a thrill.

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We witnessed some great sunsets.

Grouper Pontchartrain # seafood #orangebeach #alabama

At ate some really, really good meals. Really.

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And hung out on the beach. We did a lot of that!

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One of us went geocaching.

We also listened to a lot of music, visited with some other friends of Tulsa, and even made a new friend at the urgent care clinic. 

Now that we are back, we just want to know when we can go on our next vacation!

Our World Tuesday

Silken Prey by John Sandfod

Silken Prey is John Sandford’s newest book. It stars Lucas Davenport, star detective of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, (“BCA”).  Davenport has his work cut out for him this time. Murder, child porn, and politics all mixed up into a first class mess that he has to untangle.

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(I love palmettos. We don’t have too many of them in Oklahoma.)

Along the way he has to contend with a  female bodyguard who invites him to bed, a couple ex special forces body guards who are not quite that inviting and a Minnesota gubernatorial candidate who will literally do anything to get elected.

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(Convenient swings along the trails of Orange Beach.)

Check out Sanders web site for a better synopsis of the story. The bottom line is that this is a very good book, very readable, and not quite enthralling cuz at the end things get kind of confused and messy and loses its coherence. It is still a great beach read though. I give it four stars out of five.

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(You should have seen how white I was before I got my tan.)

From the Redneck Riviera, I’m trying to singlehandedly keep all the sunscreen manufacturers prosperous. And failing.

True Grit by Charles Portis

The Yogi’s are on vacation down in the Redneck Riviera of Alabama and typically we read a lot on vacation. Some people drink a lot, well we drink some but we read a lot. Don’t worry I’m not going to be calling you for bail money slurring about some big mistake some day. At least I won’t be calling me you if I don’t have you cell number. Oh, sorry, back to the reading. I ripped through True Grit by Charles Portis in a day.

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(Chasing after a geocache at Perdido Inlet, Alabama)

You remember True Grit starring John Wayne from way back when and Jeff Bridges from a year or two ago. Yep, the movie. Well the movies are great but the book is even better.

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(Yep, we played bingo for free drinks at a beach bar, what of it?)

True Grit is the story of Mattie Ross a fourteen year old girl and her quest for justice for her father. “I was just fourteen years of age when a coward going by the name of Tom Chaney shot my father down in Fort Smith, Arkansa, and robbed him of his life and his horse and $150 in cash money plus two California gold pieces that he carried in his trouser band.”

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(Sometimes we embarrass our son so much. Sorry kid, we love live music.)

Tom Chaney took off for Indian Territory, Oklahoma after shooting Mattie’s father. Mattie travels to Fort Smith, Arkansas to hire a Federal Marshal “with grit” to go after Tom Chaney. She hires Rooster Cogburn and negotiates the terms of his employment.

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(I mean everybody is having fun!)

Although John Wayne is the star of the movie (No offense Jeff Bridges, you are a great actor, but you are no John Wayne) but Mattie is the star of the book. She travels by herself into Fort Smith and takes over the town and takes no guff from anybody. When one of the characters threatens her with a spanking because she is so cheeky she tells him, “Put a hand on me and you will answer for it. You are from Texas and ignorant of our ways but the good people of Arkansas do not go easy on men who abuse women and children.”

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(The weather is warm and the skies are nice down here in Alabama this week.)

Portis’ writing is superb and he knows how to spin a good story and keep it moving. I had read that he may be one of the most under rated writers ever in America and I can now believe it. This book is wonderful and I give it five stars out of five. Oh yes, a spoiler, Rooster Cogburn does charge into the bad guys with the reins in