Tag Archives: Vacation

Vacation 2016 – First Report

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We started our vacation, kind of late. Tulsa and surrounding area had a huge storm come through on Thursday about noon. It was kind of scary. I was at a luncheon and the venue evacuated us to a stairwell because there was reports of a tornado on the ground close by. Good thing they lifted the alert because the stairwell had external doors with crash bars and it was so crowded the doors kept opening. Stupid design if you ask me. Anyway, our power was out and so we couldn’t run a lot of the errands we wanted to until the next morning and so instead of leaving first thing Friday morning, we left in the afternoon. Oh well.

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So we drove and drove

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And then we got to Mobile and we encountered the big jam before the tunnel.

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And we made it eventually!!

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So we have been taking it easy and hanging out on the beach.

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And staying well clear of the turtle eggs.

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The only excitement so far is outrunning a thunderstorm. You know it is slow moving when I outrun it.

Anyway, that is the first, and might be the only, vacation report.

Our World – Kauai Helicopter Adventure

_DSC0647A definite highlight of our Hawaiian cruise earlier this summer was out Helicopter tour of Kauai. It was a birthday gift to son Logan from his grandmother, Nana. Heather and I globbed onto it also. We were all thrilled. _DSC0651 We took off on a Safari Helicopters aircraft with Brian at the controls. I was glad that he didn’t let Logan fly the thing.

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We headed over the ship and and then back into the island giving us a running commentary on all that we saw. Sorry I wasn’t taking notes but he was very informative.

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We saw some very deep canyons. This may be Waimea Canyon, the so called Grand Canyon of the Pacific and now a state park.

_DSC0662We saw lots of beautiful land. Our pilot, Brian listed off some of the celebrity landowners who are buying up the old ranches of Kauai. Michael Case of AOL online for instance owns 39,000 acres via various entities. Facebook gazillionaire Mark Zuckerberg paid over $100 million for just 700 acres.  I think he got taken personally. $100 million for just over a square mile?  I’m glad for the landowner that he bought it from. _DSC0664

Oh well, back to the friendly skies. I’ve posted this rainbow before. Again a very beautiful flight.

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I was amazed at the up and down topograpy and all the water and how green everything is. Kauai is called the Garden Island for a reason I found out.

 

_DSC0701And then out over the north shore where we spotted this boat motoring along in some beautiful water.

_DSC0694And then along the beautiful Na Pali coast which is simply breathtaking. Brian talked about his plans to hike along the coast with some friends about about seven miles and camping. It sounded like a plan to me but he didn’t extend any invites.

_DSC0686I have no idea what this is. Sorry for the fuzzy photograph. It sure looks official.

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Another fuzzy pic of a view through a canyon to the Pacific Ocean.

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And then again into the interior. There have been lots of movies filmed on Kauai. Here is a list of close to fifty movies that were at least partially filmed on Kauai.a _DSC0727

It was all so beautiful but it came to an end.

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We bailed out and Sherrel the Safari Helicopter Rep took our pics. It was a great trip.

Linking with Our World Tuesday

Our World – Hilo’s Rainbow Falls

Rainbow Falls Hilo - Topaz Impressions Oil Painting Lasala 55 pct

While visiting Hilo on the “Big Island” of Hawaii our guide took us to Rainbow Falls just off downtown. The Wailuku River falls 80 feet. There is a natural cave behind the falls where an Hawaiian goddess, Hina lives. The Hawaiian name for the falls is  Waiānuenue, which means “Rainbow Water.” While we didn’t see a rainbow, the falls are beautiful, mysterious, and magical just like the rest of Hawaii. The state’s natural beauty just took my breath away. Fortunately they have preserved many of their treasures. Rainbow Falls for example is part of  the Wailuku State Park.

Linking with Our World Tuesday

Kaui Helicopter Rainbow

Kauai Helicopter Rainbow  Topaz

A definite highlight of our vacation to Hawaii was helicopter tour that Logan’s Grandmother and my MIL gifted him for his birthday. It was great and I’m going to post about it in more depth in the future. For now, I’m posting this rainbow. I’m not sure exactly where we were on Kauai when this rainbow appeared but the island is home to Mount Waialeale which at an average rainfall of 452 inches per year is called the wettest place on earth. So it is probably a good place to see rainbows.

All I know is that the Kauai is beautiful and magical.

Skywatch Friday

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.

Back from the Beach

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We got back from our Hawaiian vacation Sunday morning.

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We had lots of fun, saw a lot, and did a lot, and I took lots of pics.

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Action shot of Logan and I.

I’m sorting through it all so I’ll be posting more later. These are from a day early on where we rented a car and went beach hopping and exploring on the west and north shores of Oahu.

Take Care, Aloha, and Mahalo!!

Skywatch Friday – Back to the Beach

Orange Beach, Alabama

This week for Skywatch Friday I’m going back to the beaches of Gulf Shores, Alabama. I didn’t get too many sunrise pics because I was too dang lazy to get out of bed in time and I didn’t get very many sunset pics because it clouded up too heavily in the evening. Don’t you worry though, I had lots to do.

Skywatch Friday