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We went to Busch Gardens today. There is a free shuttle from Seaworld in Orlando to BG in Tampa, but what they don't mention is the $12 in parking at Seaworld. Ah well...it was so worth it just to not have to deal with traffic and driving over an hour to get there.

BG was not bad, lots of animals to see and a few decent rides. I was dragged on to my first wooden roller coaster and all I can say about that is "Oww..my poor kidneys." [livejournal.com profile] angie_di found a coaster she LOVED, and ended up going on it like 4 times. I had to buy the photo of her where she appeared to be asleep on the back of the coaster. I think today might have been better if we'd been able to fall asleep before 3 or 4am last night.

Tomorrow, Seaworld.

Home...

Jun. 30th, 2008 01:04 am
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We made it home alive...zoned out and not really awake, but alive. We didn't do much other than settle in and get used to being at home Thursday though. Friday we went to see a matinée of Wall-E(very cute) and Ironman(again) and then went grocery shopping to restock the rather empty kitchen.

All in all the trip was ok. I saw some things I've never ever seen before in my life, and I think [livejournal.com profile] angie_di might even forgive me someday for it all. She said the roller-coaster road coming off the Saddle, and the Jacaranda Inn and dinner at Merrimans the last night did alot towards improving her mood, so hopefully she'll end up with fond memorys of the trip.

Last day

Jun. 26th, 2008 01:58 am
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We left the Jacaranda inn at about 1030 or so to head to Hilo and our flights. We stopped at a greasy spoon for breakfast and also at Radio Shack in an attempt to find a headphone splitter so we could watch a movie while we waited in Lihue(4 hour layover). I was surprised at the Radio Shack...I skipped the MP3 section and headed for the audio section figuring the MP3 stuff would be overpriced and not what I needed. Turns out that was not the case, the audio section only had some mono to stereo y converters, and they cost more than the fancy audio splitter cable in the MP3 section. Color me surprised...the emp actually knew what she was talking about, so no "You've got questions, we've got blank stares" for the Radio Shack in Maimea. I have to admit that the best part of Waimea was the lack of humidity...it was the first time in the whole trip that I actually needed a blanket to sleep and was not sticky humid when I woke up.

We drove on though the rolling hills as we passed out of the drier grasslands and back into the greener tree'd areas of the eastern coast. I made a short detour to Wa'pio Valley just because(it was a 9 mile detour). The valley is impressive really, its a steep STEEP drive down the valley that we were not allowed to take. You have to have 4wd, 2wd or even AWD is not enough...its a 25%+ grade from the ridgeline to the bottom of the valley. Apparently the valley tends to stay green and damp and be excellent for growing even in the worst droughts, and its well protected where it sits with the steep canyon sidewalls. We stopped at the top to view it and take some photos, and then headed back. I think we were both pretty well traveled out, because neither of us really wanted to do much besides just get to Hilo. I kept thinking "I should stop for that...but I don't wanna" and she was just "nope, lets just get to the airport.

We got into Hilo with plenty of time to gas up the rental and rearrange our belongings into carryon vs checked and get to the gate. We got a fairly surly counter agent and I did not get a chance to see if they could check us all the way to Anch, so we had to pick up our bags in Lihue and recheck them(turns out we'd have had to anyway, because USDA does agriculture inspections to be sure you don't take any pests out of Hawaii and we couldn't do that in Hilo at that time). We also saw a rather odd bit of security theater when turning in the rental car...they made us pop the trunk so they could look inside it for security reasons, and I can't think of a logical reason for it.

We made our flight, and even made our fairly tight connecting flight from Oahu to Lihue(10 min between landing and theoretical start of boarding on the next fight...luckily it was delayed a and we had a chance to get something cold to drink). As we walked out of the terminal to get our bags in Lihue I turned to [livejournal.com profile] angie_di and said "I had a horrible thought...its 4 hours to departure, what if they won't let us check our bags yet?" We decided to fetch bags and go see...arriving on Hawaiian Air the bags were at baggage claim in 5 min, unlike when we flew in on Alaska and it took over an hour. We headed down to Agriculture and they told us that the Alaska Ticket counter didn't open til 730...crap, thats an hour away

We checked and sure enough, since Alaskan has only the one daily flight there is no one at the counter till 730. And to make matters even worse, the ticket counter area is open air...and it was hot and humid and nasty with no respite from it. We sat and read for awhile, then I went to see if USDA could inspect us now and ran our bags though(I don't see the point, its a simple xray, how do they see anything on it anyway?). As we waited there were more and more people there, and finaly about 715 someone showed up and started checking people in. We had left out bags in line to hold a place while we sat down(10 feet away, so we could watch them). We got unlucky here, as we got waved forward to a ticket agent that did not know what she was doing or had a computer issue and we ended up watching the entire line behind us disappear as they checked them in and we were still waiting. Ugh. They finally got everything straightened out and we headed off though security and into the terminal.

We got to the waiting lounge and first step was to find a seat next to a wall jack and use it to charge PDA's and my phone(I'd charged it this morning, but for some weird reason it burned though nearly all its battery in just a few hours). I also dug out my laptop and a movie and we attempted to watch it together, but [livejournal.com profile] angie_di was focused on her book, and the cheap earbuds she had from the trip out were so quiet that she could hardly hear. It didn't help that there is something broken on the audio with DVD playback where the voice track is nearly silent but the background track is LOUD(I need to troubleshoot this...its odd). I got my PDA charged and her's mostly charged and put away the laptop as it was nearing boarding time. We were going to take turns watching the gear while the other hit the restrooms before boarding, but when I got back just a few min later they'd already started and were nearly to us. ack...

Anyway...we're now over the Pacific somewhere, so I'll wrap up and grab some sleep before we land. Its a 5.5 hour flight, but the 3 hour time shift between Hawaii and Seattle means we don't land till 730am
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We got up and finished packing this morning and managed to actually be checked out and on the road by 1030 or so...an impressively early start considering everything we needed to do this morning still. It was rainy all the way up to Volcano and beyond, so my hope of slipping back into the park and eyeballing the active vent in the caldera was dashed(too misty/cloudy to see anything). We pressed on and passed though the Kau Desert(I wonder if it got its years worth of rain in one day today :-) and made a short stop at a black sand beach just to see what it looked like. It was kinda cool, but the Green Turtles pulled out basking in the cloud was equally cool, and the turtle swimming in the tidepool eating alge was very cool.

We headed up the west coast after that, and started hunting up places to get real Kona coffee. The guidebook(Wizard Publishing's "Big Island Revealed" is highly recommended, it and its sister book "Kauai Revealed" have been godsends) mentioned several places they'd tried that had outstanding coffee but the only one that it gave more than just a phone number for was Greenwell Farms. We actually passed it and had to go back to find it. And damn am I glad I did. They have short tours of the coffee plantation they run(i was amazed to learn that while a coffee tree is usually retired and removed after about 40 years, the ones that they use to seed their farm on can be dated back to the original planting in 1900...thats 108 years old! All these trees do is create seeds for making new trees...they don't harvest beans for coffee from them any more because the yield is not the best), and airpots of freshbrewed coffee of all the varieties they sell. I sampled them, and was agog...Normally I drink my coffee loaded up with creamer and sugar to the point its hard to tell its coffee and am looking for something to rinse my mouth out with after I'm done. But not this stuff...I was drinking it black, and it was truly stellar coffee...just amazing stuff. I ended up getting a sampler pack for [livejournal.com profile] sionainn of 6 different kinds they sell, and some Peaberry and Private Reserve for myself. [livejournal.com profile] angie_di had to just about drag me away because I kept going back for more samples. Nummmmmy!!

We headed northward and passed out of the green area as we passed Kailua-Kona. I was surprised at how quickly the terrain changed on us, it went from steeply hilling sloping down to the sea and lush green, to flat with a gentle slope downward and bare lava rock abounding. Its mostly dark rock, with some red patchs, but the locals have come up with the most interesting way to graffiti it all. They take white rocks and arrange them on the black rock to say whatever they want to say...lots of X loves Y and peoples names and dates and what not. And this goes on for MILES...like 20 or 30 miles.

We bended eastward up iinto a grassy plain area between Mauna Kea(we could see the observatories we were at yesterday from here) and the Kohala Mountains up into Waimea. I'd intended to come up highway 190 into Waimea but we missed the turn and ended up coming up the coastal route on highway 19. I suspect that was probably prettier even if it is dry and barren. The area is mostly Parker Ranch land..its one of the largest private ranchs in the nation, and its total area is something like 9% of the Big Island.

We checked into the hotel and were stunned at the room we got. We're in the Begonia room at the Jakarinda Inn...its s suite with a front sitting room with 2 couchs and a tv/Armoir, a bedroom areay with a lovely kingsized bed and comfy chair, and the bathroom is monstrous with a doublesinked counter running the length, a walk in shower with room for 6, and a sunkin tub taking up the whole end of the bath. I think this room alone may have made up for the other hotel entirely.

We went to go find dinner and ended up learning that the restaurant we found in the guidebook had shut down months ago(serves us right for using the 4th Ed when the 5th Ed is out) and so we ended up at Merrimans for dinner. I was astounded..the waiter was a character and lots of fun, and the food was just sublime. the guidebook said that this used to be their favorite but another had surpassed it...I honestly don't see how it could, it was that good. Even as stuffed as I was after the meal, dessert sounded amazing so we got some, and it was just as good. I actually asked the waiter if there was anything there that was bad, because I hadn't sampled it yet(then left him a 35% tip). If you're in the Big Island area and looking for a very nice meal, try them. Not cheap but WELL worth it.

We got back to the room and vegged and watched a movie, then repacked all our bags to cope with the influx of new stuff. The one downside to the Inn is that it looks like they're trying to sell it, and the resturant and lounge are shut down and the place feels empty. Its partly by design..we're spread out across the property roomwise, but it still has an empty quiet feel to it(except when the wind shakes the bungalow we're in). Well, that and the wifi will connect, but the DHCP is borked and doesn't hand out addresses.

Its pushing on 1230am, so its time for bed and then the drive to Hilo and the flights home. Gonna be a long long day.

urgh...

Jun. 24th, 2008 10:00 am
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I'm still feeling the altitude effects a bit...its much better than when I was actually up there, but I'm loggy and headachy still. The sunset at 13,700 feet was worth it though, as was the stargazing at 9200 feet. :-)

We're off to Waimea now, and I don't believe I'll have net access till I get home Thursday but we'll see.

Mauna Kea

Jun. 23rd, 2008 11:01 pm
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Today we spent the morning wandering the mall looking for misc(I was looking for an adapter cable to hook either of the MP3 players into the car for the long trip tomorrow and she was just looking). We also checked a Hilo Hatties store just to see what it looked like, hit Borders where we had a run in with a creepy guy, and hit the Evil Place to buy an additional suitcase since we were sitting RIGHT at the 50lb limit on both bags. We also hit a Safeway for some containers for the pineapple we got(sorry, can't take it off the island or it'll be confiscated) and a few odds and ends. We dropped everything at the room and headed to Pescatori's for lunch(and a rather good Italian it was) before we took off.

We took a meandering tour of Rainbow Falls and the Boiling pot(with Pe'epe'e falls seen in the distance) but it was somewhat lackluster due to not a lot of water in the river. Its a rather rugged and jumbled area with lots of "Danger, this place can change in a flash, swim here only if you're an idiot with an up-to-date will" signs all over it.

We headed up the Saddle road after that, which is a twisty curvy "holy crap people drive this when they're NOT in need of a roller coaster?" road right up until you hit the construction and turns into some of the straightest road I've seen here. We had FUN on this road coming back down...even stopped, turned around, went back to redo a section...[livejournal.com profile] angie_di loved it and maybe I'm somewhat out of the doghouse now :-)

We hit the Visitor Center on Mauna Kea at about 2:30 or so. I hung out for awhile, watched the videos playing and read all the bulletin boards and then went and woke [livejournal.com profile] angie_di from her nap so she'd be awake at altitude and could adjust some(the VC is at 9200 feet and its STRONGLY recommended that you spend AT LEAST half an hour there acclimating). All total I think we were there about 2 hours, and I could feel the out of breath even there.

We headed up the last 10 miles(it goes from 9200 to 13500 feet in 10 miles of road) and it took about 45 minutes to do with a few stops for the car to cool off. I wanted to walk to Lake Wai-au(one of the highest lakes in the world at 13,020 feet, and is Permafrost fed) but I was a lot more out of breath and getting light headed just walking so we skipped the 15 minute hike. We drove around a bit up top and ended up at the Keck. Unfortunately its small VC closes at 4 and it was 530 by now so we did not go inside. We were both feeling the altitude at this point and getting a bit irritable and lightheaded. We had a Ranger check on us and see if we were ok, and tell us that you can't see the sunset though the building because its a big wall and we might want to go around, or go back up to the overview. I laughed and told him that we were here because it was cooler in the shade and sitting in the sun was still rather warm even though the air was cool.

We moved back up to the Observation point at about 630 or so and watched a truly amazing sunset dip down into the lower clouds and disappear. There were a lot of tour groups up there, but by the time we left they were almost all gone. The highest point we reached was 13,700 feet and even walking the 30 feet from the car to the outhouse would leave you out of breath and dizzy...I don't know how people work there for extended periods of time because it was kicking my butt.

[livejournal.com profile] angie_di showed off and SANG up there...several songs in fact. Showoff.
(she got dizzy when she sat down back at the car though :-)

We headed down at this point because it was dark and we'd been at altitude for 3 hours and the headaches were building. We made it back to the VC(at 9200 feet) and felt a bit better. As penance for dragging her up there I had to get her a glow in the dark Space Jacks set and a hot chocolate. The VC does star viewing every night from 6-10pm and its amazingly crisp and clear there. They had one of their bigger telescopes on a dim cluster and then on M104...neat stuff. The other one though, was on saturn...it was so cool I had to grab [livejournal.com profile] angie_di and drag her and her hot chocolate over to see it. It was awesome to see a tiny Saturn floating in the middle of the viewpiece.

We headed home after about 30 minutes of viewing..it was getting late and we have a long day tomorrow. Going to check out and head up to Waimea(Big Island Waimea, not Kauai Waimea) where we're staying our last night, but we're going via the south end of the island...3.5 hour drive, but I'm sure it'll take 5 or 6 for us.

oh yeh...

Jun. 22nd, 2008 11:11 pm
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And [livejournal.com profile] angie_di and I figured out how to describe the Coqui frog sound. Its just like the science consoles on Star Trek:TOS. The beepwhoop is almost exactly like it.
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Today was an attempt to go swimming...but it turns out there's little in the way of swimming beaches in or near Hilo. We gave it a shot and ended up wading in whats essentially the kiddie pool. Its a lagoon that has had a pile of rocks dumped along the open end, so water can flow in and out but leaves it a nearly totally still pool to wade in. It got all of top of the thigh deep, but it was also low low tide from what someone there said. The one other place we tried was a bust..completely rocky with about a 20 foot wide section of sandy-rocky entrance.

After that we gave up and came back to shower off the salt and change for the volcano again(where the lava vents to the sea and where the park and calderas are are miles apart and on different roads). We swung though a store to get a small backpack to use as a stuff sack while we hiked across the lava to the observation point. After a quick lunch we headed off to the end of Highway 130 to see what we could see. Heading down the road you reach about mile 21 where you hit the mobile command post(it moves so much they have to have it mobile) and the end of the pavement. They've graveled up a path that leads up over the lava that covered the road and gets you over the first tongue back onto a bit of pavement. Then there is another small tongue that they do the same on, followed by a rather large stretch over lava that has to be atleast a mile across. You can see houses that were not destroyed by the most recent flows that are completely isolated...no access to them. There are some that have had gravel and small abouts of fill used to lay down a single lane to a residence so they can have access. Once you get across that you end up back on the road, but it ends almost immediately. They've painted out parking lines on the shoulders and guide you in(and have you back in incase they need to evac quickly) and have an espresso van, a lava marble vendor, a t-shirt stand, and a guy that photographs the volcano and sells prints. Based on what I saw of his work, he spends a LOT of time out there, and has much longer lenses than I do. He had some really good work though.

We initially walked the 3/4s of a mile out to the observation point from the parking area at about 430...it was a very flat stark environment. Black to gray rock, rolls of hardened lava, small painted road lines(about a foot long by standard wide) and markers guiding you across the rock to the big barricaded off area that comprised the Observation Point.

The sea entry point was black rock and billowing white steam. Very stark contrast and very severe. We looked around a bit and talked with the CD observer, and decided to go back to the car and have a snack and read a bit before coming back with the tripod.

We got back out at about 6:45 and found a spot with a relatively unobstructed view(except when someone would stand at the edge of the barricade in the middle of the area..that put a head in my shots) and almost immediately started seeing glowing lava in bits here and there. As it got darker we saw more and more, but the shots were getting longer and longer and I made the mistake of dialing the ISO up to 1600. Gonna have to see if I can borrow some time with someone's copy of Noise Ninja and see what it can do for it. We did see some fairly cool outbursts..nothing too dramatic but interesting nonetheless. It seemed like the most active times were whenever [livejournal.com profile] angie_di was on the tripod though...guess Pele likes women more than men.

We finally decided it was time to head back. I stopped by the CD Observer's tent and discovered that he was using a pair of binoculars as a longlens for his little point and shoot...I was amused at the ingenuity of that. I showed him a hew shots I'd taken and he was really impressed with them(This was before I saw them on a bigger screen and realized they'll need work)...I guess if you manage to impress someone that sees this day in and out you are not doing bad.

Volcano

Jun. 21st, 2008 10:58 pm
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Today was a sleep in day...all the way to about 830 or 9. Did a bit of unpacking and trip planning and then went for breakfast and to hunt up some groceries. After that it was off to the Volcano.

We couldn't do the full loop around the crater because one of the vents is active and spewing Sulfur Dioxide so they'd closed the western end of the road. We went as far as the Jagger Museum(where the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory is) and wandered around there and watched the vent off in the distance, and then learned that the only currently active vent is outside the parks boundary's and we'd have to go nearly all the way back to Hilo and then down highway 130 to get to it. So today we ran around the park as best we could in the misty rain.

After the Mueseum and Visitor Center we headed down the Crater Road. First stop was a overlook into one of the smaller craters but we got there the same time as a tourbuss so we passed and went on to the Thurston Lava Tube. Its a short hike though an actual rain forest to get to it, and then its about 400 yards though the tube. The tube was interesting...I've been in them before but this was the first green one I'd been in.

After that we started heading out across the lava fields and down off the escarpment to the lower shelf(the visitor center is at 4000 feet, the bottom of the crater road is at about 15 feet). As we headed down the ridgelines we saw the active vent off in the distance in a halo of sun. Since the day had been misty rain([livejournal.com profile] angie_di LOVED the rain..I was less enthused due to lack of vis) this bit of clear air was a welcome and gorgeous sight. We continued on down to the flats, and out to the Ocean. We ended up at the end of the road, and parked there. The road used to go several miles farther, but a year or two ago lava cut off the road and they had to pull the VC well back and block off the road. There hasn't been any activity since sometime in 2007 but they have not reopened the road. You can walk about a half a mile to where the lava first cut across the road, and then there is a 400 yard path flagged across the lava to a seaside view of the active vent(6 or 7 miles away). You can also follow another path(if you can call a series of white temp lane markers(the little flags that stick up 3-4 inchs off the road) scattered here and there a path) that leads you about a quarter mile out across the lave fields to the final view point.

[livejournal.com profile] angie_di opted to stay with the car while I hiked out. I made it to the seaside viewpoint and attempted the final viewpoint but realized I wasn't going to see anything I hadn't seen already, and there was another rainstorm(as opposed to the showers before) moving in so I headed back. I was gone atleast an hour or so, but she was reading and only groused mildly at me.

After that we headed back up and made good time...the 18 miles took less than 30 min I think. We stopped at the VC at the park entrance on the way out for a legstrech before the hour drive home. I verified that we could infact still make it to about a quarter mile of the current vent, so we'll be trying that sunday afternoon(viewing pad is open from 2pm to 10pm and no cars allowed back in after 8pm).

We decided to have a nice dinner tonight and on the recommendation of the guidebook went to Harringtons. The atmosphere was great and the food was good too, barring a fairly hohum salad. We had a little Koi pond right outside the open windows next to us, so we watched the fish as we chatted. Not a bad aniversary dinner really(first anniversary of our first date...is actually Sunday but apparently this town rolls up the carpet sunday evening before sunset so we had dinner tonight).

On our way back into town it occurred to me that I wasnt sure when payoll time entry was due..a quick txt to one of my team confirmed it was due this weekend...crap. I had to hunt down net access(I'd not been bothering because I just didn't care much..these missives can all sit in queue till I get home really). Our hotel claims it has net access but I could not get connected to the WAP here. They did say it WOULD work in the lobby so I headed down with my laptop and discovered that the WAP I was connecting to was not theirs, and pointed me to the correct one. I got online to do time entry, skim email, and post the last post...this one will wait till later. It seems that even though I'm about 10 feet above and 30 feet away from the WAP, the 4 brick walls act as a REALLY good wifi blocker.

I think I'm going to go read a bit and listen to the Coqui frogs chirping(sounds like a LOUD cricket).
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6/20

We got up at a quarter to 6 this morning to watch the sunrise from the patio..it was a nice sunrise with low scudding clouds on the horizon for the sun to peek though. We then promptly went back to bed for 2 more hours :-)

We proceeded to pack while her parents ran their luggage over to the newlyweds(they flew home tonight, but we flew to Hilo first) so that we could have our bags in the trunk for our earlier leavetime. After that we met up at the newlyweds rental(and nearly destroyed the rental car when some idiot decided to make a left turn across traffic RIGHT in front of us) so we could go to Waimea Canyon together. We headed off with a slightly later start than I had hoped, but still made it up the canyon in decent time. We'd opted to drive all the way to the top and then work our way back down. I was reading Wizard Publishing's guidebook and it said the last overlook was the best and I'm sure it would have if not for the cloudburst that hit us just as we arrived(ts 4000 feet so its right at cloud level). Ended up that the stop just before it was amazing...all those photographs of hawaii that you see that you never seem to see while you're there...this was it. We were actually looking out over the Ocean to the west rather than down into the Canyon...we'd passed the head of the canyon several miles back. We headed back down and started stopping at the overlooks and photographing the canyon and its truly amazing...like a green and red version of the grand canyon almost.

We got down the canyon to the turn we'd passed and went down highway 550 instead of 552 and WOW! 550 is a MUCH more scenic and less motion sick inducing route than the other was. Didn't make it into Waimea until nearly 4 so we had to bypass lunch and ended up stopping at Costco for food and to return something. One thing I learned the day before was that while Kauai's population can't really support a Costco, all the visitors renting condos for a week or 2 and need to provision it can and do give it a nice base of clientèle and let it exist nicely.

We got to the airport an hour and a half early..after the experience with our bags before I figured better safe than sorry. So we had plenty of time to hang out in the terminal. Flight over to Honolulu was ok...though somehow we'd gotten separated and didn't have seats next to each other and I have no idea how that happened. We had about enough time in Honolulu for a restroom break and then it was time to board.

Got into Hilo and managed to get lost about 4 times in the 2 mile drive to the hotel.

As for the hotel...well, its a place to sleep. *sighs* And this was the best rated one in Hilo from the guide too...rather sad.

Wandering

Jun. 20th, 2008 09:11 am
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Today We were going to get up to see the sunrise, and I woke up at about a quarter after 5(alarm was set for 530 for a 558 sunrise) for some reason. It was a good thing too, because there was a slew of clouds all over the easter horizon and nothing to see so went back to bed. We woke at about 930 to a WHAMMM from a rain squall kicking off and hammering the condo. We rushed around closing windows to keep the water out and then settled down to get ready for the day. [livejournal.com profile] angie_di's parents were out shopping when the squall hit, so we called them and asked for some AfterBurn for [livejournal.com profile] angie_di's burns...such interesting patterns she has. There are two sets of lines down her back that are pale where you can see where I rubbed sunblock on(in a 4 finger pattern from my hand), but burn all around it.

We headed out towards the North Side around 1030 or 11am. First stop was Kilauea Lighthouse..interesting light house. Turns out that its the northernmost point in inhabited Hawaii...There is a small island just north of it but thats uninhabited. I have to admit that the replacement for the lighthouse is most unsatisfying. I know that the automated beacon/light is less costly and more reliable but a light on a pole with a radio beacon on it just doesn't have any romance to it.

After that we wandered westward on the north coast though Princeville(home of the dotcommers that made it out with money) and Hanalei and all the way to Ha'ena beach. We were looking for the newlyweds, and even though they were supposed to be one beach farther along snorkeling with a friend that was leaving today, we managed to find them there...the water was too murky at Ke'e beach. They do this all the time as a family...its a touch creapy really :-) They headed off and wen started looking for lunch since it was after 2pm. Ended up in Hanalei at a burger place that had yummy burgers and bad math(claimed 1/3lb patty s, but three of them made a 1/2lb burger? Was good nonetheless though). We headed on to Princeville so her mom could hunt for a hairclip she'd found at another resort farther south(no luck) and I discovered that I'd lost my eyepiece for my camera. I suspect it got lost somewhere in Hanalei but there was no point in going back to look for it since we'd wandered all over town.

We started heading back towards Ka'paa after that, and ended up going to the Wailua Falls. It was pretty, but late afternoon by this point so the eastward facing falls were in shadow and not impressive photographically. It was decided we'd head west to see about capturing a sunset at this point. We made it all the way to the Pacific Missile Testing Facility to discover there is nadda for beach access there unless you are in the know so we had to backtrack to what i think was Kekaha Beach Park to watch the Sun set over the trees along the beach. It was rather pretty if unspectacular...one of those "Gee, thats a nice sunset" but not "OMG!! LOOK at THAT! Its AMAZING!" sort of things. We both got splashed, so went home in salt encrusted shorts and I was barefoot most all the way because the salt and sand were irritating the sunburn on my feet.

We got home about 9 or so and did a load of laundry. We both sat around the laundry room together reading, because it closed at 10 and we did not want the security guard locking our cloths in till morning.

Tomorrow(well today actually...didn't get to post last night) is Waimea Canyon(we hope) and checkout(her parents fly home and we fly to the Big Island).
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The wedding was scheduled for 2pm today, so the morning was mostly free. They'd discussed breakfast and shopping was performed, so the collaborative effort produced SOS and Eggs Benedict. Both were rather yummy. After breakfast [livejournal.com profile] angie_di and I went for a walk and waded in the ocean for a bit. We also ran into a guy beach-combing that asked us where we were from, and then burst out laughing when we said Anchorage...seems he was from Kodiak, lived there for 30 years and had only been on Kauai for less than a year.

K(the bride) kept insisting that the wedding was sched'd for 2pm and it WOULD start then. I jokingly told her that the earliest it would be would be 2:30...and she insisted that it WOULD be 2pm. I laughed and said the closest to on time I'd seen a wedding in years was 30 min late but we'd see.
Turns out I was wrong...the wedding started at 2:34pm :-) Off by 4 min.

The ceremony was a bit odd. The minister did the whole package, photos and all(he had a primary assistant that did the photography but when they did the formals later on he also started photographing). He actually had us all stand just up the hill under a tree and performed the ceremony down on the rocks and beach under a different tree. He said something about it being cooler there and better photography for us, but after seeing what was going on I realized that it was a poor location for anything except making sure no one else got any decent photos of the ceremony itself. Ah well...

We traipsed down to the beach a short distance away for Formals and spent about an hour doing that...all the standard poses and what not. It seems that at some point in there I sweated off the sunblock because later on I looked at my face at it was rather ruddy and pink. And I forgot all about my feet, so I have a nice crisscross pattern of sunburn on them.

We headed back to the condo after that so we could all change before going to the Luau. It was a good thing I decided to look up the times because we'd gotten it all wrong and would have been atleast a halfhour late for it. The food was good, really good...but the rest of it was so tourist kitch that it wasn't even funny. Guess its one of those "I can say I've done it" things that you have to do, but don't need to do twice really.

We came home to a pair of stray cats wandering the parking lot(the stray chickens were gone, but I don't think the cats had much to do with it). Later on we went for a walk and had a third stray wander home with us..he's sitting outside occasionally mrrring at us and making [livejournal.com profile] angie_di whimper.

I got forbidden to say what came to mind to the bride and groom though, [livejournal.com profile] angie_di said she'd hit me if I said it. I thought it was funny though :-)
(and I also got forbidden to post it too)

I think its bedtime for me...we want to get up at 530 to see the sunrise(and then go back to bed till everyone else gets here and we decide the game-plan for the day).

Arrived

Jun. 18th, 2008 02:55 am
crisavec: (Default)
We made it to Lihue at about 730pm tonight. For some reason both flights we were on the airflow nozzle was barely working, so they were both rather warm...I guess that was to get us ready for landing here. Its after midnight and 75 degrees and 94% humidity. Seriously muggy.

It took ages to get our bags, well over an hour and they came out on the wrong carousel to boot. Atleast it was the next one over though. First thing we did when we got here was run into a gaggle heading out of the condo to the pool...so we went and changed and went swimming for awhile. It felt wonderful...great way to get used to the mugginess as well as work out the kinks from the flights. Its weird for it to be dark out and still be warm enough to wander around in shorts and barefoot(just watch out for the frogs).

There's a quasi batchelor/bachelorette party going on, mostly snacks and drinking and chatting...nothing too big. We're in a 2 bedroom condo thats about 100 yards from the beach. Nice little place they have, you can walk out the sliding glass door onto the patio and then out on to the grass and the seawall. Can't get to the beach directly that I can see but its dark...have to check it out tomorrow. I havent checked out net access on the cable modem here, it says to connect and see the for pay options and I did not bring a cat5 cable with me. I did bring both my personal and work celldata cards with though, the work card wanted to only connect at GPRS which was just painful, but later on decided it could do EDGE data. Not great but it'll do for the little bit I'll be online here.

I think I'm gonna head for bed, its 1am but my body is thinking its more like 3am(Hawaii doesn't observe DST so its two hours behind AK in the summer) and it was a long day of flights.
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I discovered the reason I was so sleepy since I got here today...seems that the coffee I'd been drinking out of the coffee pot...was decaf. Only person drinking regular coffee was Mom. Explains alot really...

We spent the morning packing and repacking bags to get everything to fit, and finally managed to. Had to take over the tables on the back deck to repack though, because we'd had our bags stuffed to the gills flying down, and all the gifts we'd purchased alone overwhelmed us. So we repacked, and I had bought an extra duffel to deal with it all. Amusingly, we almost brought Capt Jack the superkitten home with us...he was really liking my original duffel, and kept climbing into to it to sniff at things.

We finally got packed, and then headed down to the church for the family Xmas party. They had originally been planning to have it at the house, but it was just too many people and not enough space so we moved the local. I saw lots of relatives that I hadn't seen in years, and even more that I'd never seen at all. [livejournal.com profile] angie_di was getting seriously overwhelmed by the shear volume of people she was meeting, especially as she realized I was related to them all in some fashion. It was fun though, I relived myself of all my spare pocket change by tucking it into the hair bands of random 8yr old cousins...made their day, and I didn't have to empty my pockets at security later on.

Finally it was approaching time to head out for the airport and home, so we said our goodbyes and started heading out. We swung though Eugene to say goodbye to Dad's Mom as a surprise, and then off to PDX to fly home. We had good timing on lines, and from drop off to at the gate was about 25 minutes. Security was about 15 of that. I've had much worse trips though the airport.

We got home about 1am, and settled in and to bed shortly thereafter.

It was a good trip, but after the rigmarole of the airmatress and the TINY foldout bed from the love seat in the trailer, I was VERY glad to be home in my own bed.
crisavec: (Default)
We drove over to the coast today, so we were up at 630 and on the road by 7am. I swung though Sutherlin to get coffee on the way, and then headed for Reedsport. It was a nice quiet drive, [livejournal.com profile] angie_di dozed a bit, but woke up once we passed Reedsport and got near Florence.

At Florence we finally popped out of the green rainy forest and onto the coast itself, and headed just north to the Sea Lion Caves. It was rather lowlight in the caves, and hard to take photographs but we both gave it a shot. I haven't yet even downloaded the photos to see how they came out. I ran into a guy on the Marketing Committee for NANPA and talked shop for awhile while [livejournal.com profile] angie_di toured the giftshop.

We headed up the coast a ways and stopped at Cape Perpetua to have a look at it, but it was rain squall so only I got out, and there wasn't alot to see besides a blowhole that didn't appear to be doing much. I went back and got my camera just in case, and amusingly even thought the blowhole had done nothing the dozen wavesets I'd watched while talking with a whalewatcher, once I got back with my camera it promptly spouted from the next couple of sets.

We got into Newport just in time for Lunch and met up with my Aunt and Uncle at Flashbacks. Its a supposedly Retro cafe, but not much of one. Food was good though. After that we piled into their car and went to Yaquinta Bay lighthouse to see the Jettys, and then went out to the Yaquinta Head Lighthouse and actually went up inside and looked all around. It was really interesting to see what it looked like, as well as hear all the tales about it. Like the skylight decking on the light level is a series of quartz pieces that were lost at sea, and they had to shanghai replacements from a bank in Portland for the lighthouse so that the keepers had light to see by on the last deck before the light inside the lighthouse.

Next we headed for Depoe Bay, which is reportedly the smallest natural harbor anywhere. I can believe it too, its a multiple dogleg turn to get inside it and the harbor itself is rather small. I watched a Coast Guard 47footer head out to go on patrol, and watching it time its exit to match the waves was interesting. Getting back in with any sort of swell would be a nightmare.

We got back to the car around 6pm, and bit my aunt and uncle good evening and headed home. I decided to show her the house in Junction where i went to first grade from, and then we went to Olive Garden at her request. I was testing out Dad's new GPS he got for xmas,and it proved surprisingly useful for getting around. I don't know how to drive around Eugene at all any more since its been too many years, but the GPS got me everywhere I needed to go there.
crisavec: (Default)
We didn't do much this day...I think the high spot of the day was taking [livejournal.com profile] angie_di out and showing her around the town, which took about 15 minutes. Then we went over to Sutherlin and showed her around there, which took about 30 min. Small area :-)

We headed to Roseburg then, and did a bit of shopping for both Mom and our road trip the next day, and I almost forgot the one thing I'd needed there which was blank CDs. Oops. At least I did remember them before making it out of the store. I also discovered that Oregon has an equivalent to Starbucks, and its called Dutch Brothers. Rather good coffee, much better than alot of places, and it seems like they are always open. Made it nice and convenient to get early morning coffee.

I grabbed Granddad and Dad and we looked over maps for the road trip to the coast I had planned for Friday, and worked out where we wanted to go and what we wanted to see, and I got ahold of my aunt(mom's sister) to let her know we'd be over. I also worked on moving Mom's domain over to my VPS server, and finally swung DNS over to my server tonight. I'll reconfig her mail in a day or so, so she doesn't lose much or anything.
crisavec: (Default)
The day after Xmas we needed to head over to Bend to meet up with my aunt to get a bag out of the back of their SUV. I invited Dad and Grandad along with us, and we took off about 11am or so.

Turns out it was a much longer drive than I'd expected as we woke up to snow falling that morning in Oakland. From what I'm told thats about the 5th time snow has fallen there in the 20 years since my grandparents moved back. They're only a t 450 feet above sealevel, and the passes over the Cascades to Bend are close to 5000 feet. Dad opted to take Willamette Pass over and Santiam Pass back, and it ended up being a rather long drive. I'd expected it to be 6-7 hours, but it was closer to 11.

The drive wasn't too bad, we had several spots where we had to stop because there was a road full of people stopped to put on chains. We didn't need any, Dad had good tires on his truck and 4x4 High was all the more we needed. He said the only bad part of the drive was when the window wipers iced up and stooped working very well.

We ended up stopping for a late lunch in Crescent, nice little diner that had good food. My aunt called just before we got to the Diner to see where we were at and I let her know we were 45 min out...but then lunch delayed us and I forgot to call her. Oops. We still made it there by just after 5, and hung out with them for about 30 minutes before we got back on the road. The drive back was about the same as the drive over, except it was dark, and the one major turn we needed to make was not lit and not marked well at all and we almost missed it.

I think my granddad really enjoyed the trip, I got the feeling he hasn't made it up into the mountains to see the snowfall in quite awhile, and he's not really up for longish drives with him driving anymore...was part of why I asked if he'd like to go with us.
crisavec: (Default)
Xmas day went well...I crashed on the living room couch, so I was woken up when people started moving around and had time for coffee before everyone made it in. [livejournal.com profile] angie_di woke up all bouncy full of energy, and it lasted till about an hour after presents were opened before she crashed. Mom said she's a keeper, because she offered to be the present hander-outer so mom didn't have to browbeat someone into it.

Presentwise I got a series of books I asked for, including Volume I of Swords of Armageddon which is the definitive history of US nuke weapons design. Very cool stuff.

I napped with [livejournal.com profile] angie_di when she crashed, because I hadn't slept much the night before. We woke up just as Dad arrived with his mom(he'd left after Opening to go up to Eugene to get her) and we bummed around for awhile till Dinner. We had a housefull for dinner, but it was fun nontheless. Ended up the day hanging out in the BatCave surfing and watching Matt play Metroid on his WII

Day 5

Dec. 26th, 2007 12:38 am
crisavec: (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] angie_di and I dragged Mom out shopping in Roseburg. We managed to get just about everyone shopped for, barring my sister and mom...and then we realized that we'd left the bag from Disney in my Aunt's SUV in Portland...urgh, especially since it had my brother's present in it.

When we got home I was banished to the Den(hereafter referred to as the Bat Cave) while wrapping occurred, so I dug out my laptop and started catching up on news and LJ(Its amazing...this is the first vacation in 5 years where I did NOT need to be checking email for work daily...and I rather enjoyed it) since I'd been offline pretty much since Tuesday. My youngest brother turned up around 6, with the dog. I somewhat pity him having to drive 1300 miles with that doofus of a dog in the backseat of his truck. I still thought he had his old S10 pickup and felt REALLY bad for him...but then discovered he'd upgraded to a brand new Colorado Crew Cab, so not as bad but she still barked in his ear if someone walked near the truck.

The downside to the day was that [livejournal.com profile] angie_di took a turn for the worse last night, and I ended up having to boot my brother out to the parents trailer and giving her his bed while I slept on the couch. I was starting to get REALLY worried, because this had gone on for nearly 3 days, but she woke up Xmas morning all bouncy and full of energy(it only lasted 3 hours before she crashed and slept) and she managed to eat and felt relatively ok all day. So I think she's recovering. Color me MUCH relieved.
crisavec: (Default)
Woke up Sunday and got loaded up to head from Portland to Eugene. We headed over to my cousin's to collect her and her husband and daughter(only child of 2 only children....she's just a WEE bit doted on :-) and then headed out...only to head back 2 min later after the toddler upended her mothers coffee cup all over her jeans. The drive down wasn't bad, it really reminded me of what winter in Oregon is like....rainy :-)

We got to Dad's mom's about 1230, and hung out for about 20 min before we headed to the restaurant to meet with my parents, maternal grandparents, Aunt/Uncle, and most of my siblings(M didn't arrive till Monday). We pretty well invaded them...took up 3 tables and space for 16. [livejournal.com profile] angie_di was feeling a touch better but still shaky....She did have lunch and manage to keep it down, but we both opted out of shopping and headed directly to Oakland with Dad and Kyle. It was a pretty quiet day beyond that..didn't do much besides rest up.

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