Monday, October 16, 2017


We finally had a nice day - went flying just a bit.  Pretty green landscape....a few more weeks and it will start to be more colorful!

Friday, October 13, 2017


Well, we've been home a week now...and we're just now getting over the jet-lag.   There have been a couple of nights that one of us didn't hardly sleep at all.   

Haven't really accomplished much - and the weather has been grey and murky ever since we arrived....hopefully it will improve soon.

Just a last photo of the zinnias in the flower garden.  I hope to harvest a bunch more seeds for a repeat next year.

We'd had a lawn service mow the lawn a couple of times while we were gone...but it's been a couple of weeks since the last mowing....the yard seems to be covered in pine needles.  Does that mean a hard winter???

Monday, October 09, 2017

Back home!

We're back home now...recovering from a bit of jet-lag.  Hopefully tonight will get us back on a "normal" sleep schedule.

The kids came over yesterday evening to do a bit of car work with Duane.   I had a nice visit with Miranda, then we had a nice leisurely dinner. 

My zinnias were in full bloom when we returned - so I went and snipped off a handful for a quick centerpiece for the table.   Pretty and free - they were from seeds that I had harvested last fall. 

Saturday, October 07, 2017

42 - Hawaii

Purely travel....uneventful but full flights from Honolulu to LAX and from LAX to Charlotte so lots of delays to get all the folks settled.   

We were in first class, but unfortunately they were just "regular" first class seats (not lay-flat) so it was really hard to sleep.  It was two 5 hour hops so pretty hard to get to sleep anyway.  I watched the Secret Life of Bees and Unbroken - both movies that I had read the book.  Pretty good representation of the book in both cases.

Had a great final veggie meal - lentil chili with polenta, roast asparagus and carrots,  a nice nori roll and a Hawaiian salad.  I really can't figure out how they get such nice meals served at 35000 feet.  Very yummy! 

I tried to take a photo of all the lights of Los Angeles as we departed, but I just couldn't get a good shot in the dark out the oval airplane window, so you'll just have to take my word that there are a lot of people in Los Angeles!!!

Rented a car and drove home (dropped the car off in Pittsboro at Enterprise, so very handy).  We'll need a day to recover from the 24+ hours with no real sleep!  (Somehow it turned a bit of autumn while we were gone!)

Friday, October 06, 2017

41 - Hawaii

Wow, last day!!  Tomorrow is basically a travel day......the trip has flown by lightning fast!

We spent the day on Waikiki beach just to relax and enjoy.

What vacation would be complete without a chicken picture?  Pretty much everywhere we went, even some of the remote hikes, there were chickens.  They weren't skittish so I assume there are no predators on the island.

Parts of Waikiki beach is surprisingly vacant - but this was mid-day on a weekday.  I was surprised how many lifeguards were on duty everywhere in these little stands, even at the remote beaches.

Wandering down the "strip" along the waterfront, there is a Tesla dealership right on a busy corner.  (all indoor, of course).

The cars look pretty ordinary - hope they are successful!

We wandered down the walking path south of Waikiki.

We noticed a shadow in the water.

It was a sweet looking seal!

Love the banyan trees that dot the shoreline.

For my "last" Hawaiian meal out, I chose a spicy ahi tuna poke bowl topped with avocado.  It was delicious!

Walking back to the condo, we went down this alleyway. It was completely lined with 100's of surfboards.   I guess this is the "paid parking lot" for surfboards!

And that's a wrap!

Last photo before we headed out the condo door!

Thursday, October 05, 2017

40 - Hawaii

We wanted to get in one more hike - this time to Lulumahu Falls.  It's a pretty hike - but unfortunately it had rained overnight.

The start of the hike is on relatively flat ground thru a stand of bamboo.

Pretty quickly we came out in a grassy area.   This is beside a reservoir.

Past the reservoir, the trail gets a little dicey.

It follows a lovely little stream up hill for about a mile.

And the lovely Lulumahu Falls at the end!

Convinced Duane to let me take a "selfie"...I always take several frames in hopes that one of them will come out good.

Duane apparently thought he'd misbehave a little....

He finally did behave a bit...

A kind girl that had seen the mischief volunteered to take our photo....very nice!

Pretty mountain view as we were walking back.

In the "meadow" area I saw this chameleon - since he had weird horns, I looked him up on Google when we got back to the condo.  Apparently, it's a Jackson's Chameleon and is an non-native invasive species.

We went on to the Pali Outlook - but the expansive view again was marred by a bit of haze and shadows.  That's about it for the day!

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

39 - Hawaii

The trip is winding to a close!  Today we drove around to the "North Shore"....seems like a long way away, but it's just 30 miles. 

This area is where you see the crazy surfing waves in the winter - it's called the Banzai Pipeline.  During the summer months, the waves are much more docile.  Still lots of surfers out there though!

Since the surfing beaches are not good for swimming (the surf is rough and knocks you down as you try to walk in), we opted for a beach down the road that had a calm bay.   This is the Pupukea Beach - popular because there is virtually no current because of the protecting rocks.

This is where you snorkel.

I convinced Duane to walk with me to a "food truck" nearby for lunch.  It was really good and fun to have the meal right on the beach.

I went snorkeling a couple of times.  Nothing spectacular - but some nice fish.

A nice view on the way back to Honolulu.

And a few miles from the "city" we passed the Dole pineapple plantation.  I've never seen them actually growing before....

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

38 - Hawaii

Today's touring is to the Pearl Harbor historic site.   We got tickets for a guided tour of the Pacific Aviation Museum.  We don't normally do guided tours, but I'm really glad we did.  Our tour guide was incredibly well informed about WWII! 

The original control tower from 1941.

Inside the first hanger - the first aircraft was Japanese Zero.  I'd never seen one - the guide explained that they were much lighter weight than our planes at the time - since our planes had armor to protect the pilot, engine and fuel.  Apparently, the Japanese pilots weren't protected at all!

This was an Aeronica that was in the air on a simple joy-ride with a father and son the morning of the attack.  They were at about 2000' - all the action of the Japanese planes was much lower - at about 500'.    After a while, the father and son were able to land safely.  The plane was bought/sold a few times over the years before being donated to the museum.   The museum staff restored it to it's appearance at the time.

Typical museum aircraft - very nicely presented.  A B-25 bomber.

This was a pre-1942 paint scheme.  The guide explained that the insignia with the blue circle, white star and red center was the source of some "friendly fire" because the pilots were focusing on the Japanese red circle insignia that was on all their planes.  To limit the confusion, the red center from US planes was ordered removed.

Otherwise the museum housed a lot of interesting and well presented aircraft.

A Boing Stearman that was used as a trainer by the "orignal" George Bush.

When we were done with the first hangar tour, we were taken to a second, larger hangar.  On the way, this "floating radar platform" was pointed out to us.  You can't see it, but it's apparently moored in a bay on the other side of the houses you see in the foreground.  It is towed out to sea at various intervals.  It's huge!  Hard to believe it floats.

I took this photo because it is a Cessna Skymaster - (the military called it an O-2). 

Going into the second hangar, we noted these nice hangar doors.

If you look closely, you'll see the bullet holes that were never repaired after the attack.

This hangar housed a variety of different military aircraft from various eras.

Especially interesting was a B-17 "Flying Fortress".  It was pulled recently from a swamp in New Guinea where it crash landed after battle damage.  The crew was not hurt!  But they did endure 6 weeks of malaria infested travel to reach safety.  They were assigned to another B-17!

And more fairly recent aircraft.

And that was it for the aviation museum.

The final tour of the day was to the USS Arizona Memorial.  After a well done movie educating us a bit more on the events of Dec 7, 1941, we all loaded on a US Navy pontoon-type boat to take us out to the memorial.

It is a solemn place.  Even though there were about 100 people on our boat, it was very quiet and respectful inside the memorial.

You could see some of the remains of the ship - and through the clear waters you could make out the outline of the wreckage.

There is a marble wall engraved with the names and ranks of all 1177 men killed.  The bodies mostly rest below the memorial.   (335 survived - they are allowed to be cremated and Navy divers will place them with their comrades below.  Their names are then added to the engraving on a separate space.)

The viewing areas.

And the flag is always at half-staff.