Hawai’i 2017

~ Day 4 – Today we had a flat tire and had to deal with getting it fixed before we could go anywhere. That took a little bit more of the morning than we wanted so our trip to another coffee farm was out of the picture. Instead we stayed at the resort and made the best of it by doing a little swimming and soaking the hot tub.

The Luau was close enough for us to walk to, so we did just that. Not just because it was an open bar, but because the weather is SO nice, in the evenings especially.

With that, a few pics of the Luau:

 

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Hawai’i 2017

~ Day 3 – Today’s adventure was in its entirety a day-long guided tour around the island visiting many of the islands treasures, hidden or otherwise. Lunch and dinner were included. We started at 11am and with not much for us to do except shower, dress and have a relaxing breakfast enjoyed on our balcony overlooking the pool while we wait to be picked up.

Our driver was a chatty fellow named Lawrence who was born in Kona but moved away at a young age before moving back with his family about 10 years ago. He was full of really interesting factoids, legends, lore and personal thoughts on just about everything. He was great.

Our lunch consisted of sandwhiches and chips and took place on a coffee farm that had a stunning view overlooking one of the bays below. This place was also used for weddings. It had a great many kinds of wild-flowers, including the trumpet-angel (which is poisonous) and even turkeys for our viewing pleasure. We were also treated to some excellent coffee. Things definitely had started off right on the trip.

After leaving the coffee farm we took a meandering road up and around that twisted and turned until we arrived at a shop were you could buy all manner of trinkets and do-dads but maybe more importantly had sweet edible goodness in the form of icecream and a tasty pastry called mallasada.

Keeping the tour moving, we headed to Punalu’u Black Sand Beach Park where they had, of all things – a black sandy beach. It was unusual for sure plus the sand was really course. It gets its color from the way it was created. What was in the magma as it flowed into the sea and met the water before exploding bits everywhere. We also managed to see a few more turtles in the water.

Moving forward we next headed to some steam vents that spewed steam 24/7. It was odd, they steam smelled like ramen noodles, not the lipton noodle soup we were told it was smell like. A case of false advertising if ever I heard one!

Keeping things on pace for dinner and the lava tubes, we couldn’t spend too much time in any one particular place. Just enough to entice you to come back on your own maybe.

Dinner was at a winery, which was perfect. We had a tasting of six wines and two meads, one of which was black tea infused. There was also a tour and explanation of the process of making the wine in the unique climate here in Hawai’i. Dinner was chicken, ribs, sweet corn, cole slaw and pasta salad. It was so good. – As a side note, there was a cork oak tree on the property. It is native to Portugal and in their native country grow to more than a 100 feet. The “bark” is so much like cork that it IS used as such.

Our next stop was at a 600 foot lava tube we got to walk through. It may sound weird or claustrophobic but it was pretty big and really cool. No sense of being closed in here. There were tiny roots that had actually managed to creep through all the tiny holes in the rocks and crust of the lava tube to end just above our heads as we walked though. There were several large yellow lights placed evenly throughout the tunnel so we could see but were not intrusive on the experience. A short walk back to the van gave Lawrence, our guide, an opportunity to talk about some of the flora. He showed us one of the few indiginous species of tree that break down the lava rock and help produce soil by excreting a chemical that promoted the breaking down of the lava rock. Crazy! Also they developed floating root sacks to gather water so other specias of plant life that formed around them wouldn’t take all the water around.

Now that it was dark, we made our way to Hawai’is Valcanoes National Park to see some lava – with any luck. Eureka! Not only did we get to see the glow of lava, but actual lava.

On the way back to the van for a long trip home, Lawrence was able to find some lava rock with olivine in it. The stuff that makes up the green sand beaches. He also managed to find some some of Pele’s Hair. This is the stuff formed when lava is ejected into the air and the wind catches it and stretches it thin. It looks like hair. Totally cool!

Here some of the pics that encapsulated the day:

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Hawai’i 2017

Days 1&2 – Traveling + our 1st day exploring

~Day 1 – To make our 8:15am flight from Portland Oregon, my wife and I decided to stay the night at her parents home so that we could all set out on this adventure together. We woke up at 4:45am  and were out the door at 5:30am, at the airport at 6am and were checked in by 6:30-7am. This was just enough time to have a cup of morning java before boarding began. The flight was really smooth and took only 5.5 hours to arrive in Honolulu. We made great time arriving 20-30 minutes ahead of schedule. Almost there; just one more micro-flight of 30 minutes to get to the “big” island of Hawai’i. An unusually long time (90 minutes) to get our car and we were on our way. Usually we get in and are out of the rental place in 15 minutes. I guess it was our time to have to wait. If all things are being equal, one 90 minute ordeal at a car rental place is not terrible at all.

Before we make it to the resort, we need to get to Costco for some essentials like chips, salsa, dip, lunch meat, bread, beer and booze. Yes, Costco sells liquor in Hawai’i! Boo-ya.
To the resort we go. We arrive to drop off luggage and groceries. This was about sunset. It was amazing. The sun was a huge bright ball of red-orange. It was so amazing.

For our eating experience we decided to start off at Kona Brew Pub. The wait was long but it was worth it. The beers were cold and the wings were spicy. My father-in-law and I shared a pizza to top off our dining experience. My wife and mother-in-law also shared a pizza of their own.

After dinner the sun has fully set and we are ready for bed. The resort is not terribly far away so we manage to make it in 15-20 minutes.

I admit, this first day I was not very much in the Aloha spirit. Too long a day on 4 hours of sleep plus no food until the 2nd hour of the flight, around 10:30am, which had me a little hangry (hungry + angry), although angry is a little harsh. I would say cranky instead but hanky doesn’t have the right connotation as hangry. Maybe it has more flair, who knows?

~ Day 2 – The 1st day waking up in Hawai”i was great. No alarms going off, just a fan above circulation the warm air. In all honesty, it was a bit too warm. Easily fixed, open the window, don’t sleep with all the covers on and no AC. The AC didn’t really do much anyway oddly enough.

We had an activities specialist come down to the resort to go over many of the exciting things to do while visiting. Things like helicoptor rides over the volcano, ziplining, coffee plantation tours as well as whole island tours that take 11-12 hours. As an enticement, they give away some swag for sitting through the presentation and such, usually a raffle for a buy-1, get-1 free deal. In this case all the choices were pretty good. The thing we wanted to do was watch the lava at night so we eagerly anticipated the drawing…and won! We of course chose the evening lava tour and are doing that all day tomorrow.

After our meetings were done for the day, we decided to meet up with my parents-in-law who had been walking through one of the many shopping areas where all sorts of wears were being peddled. They even managed to pose with some parrots. It was now time to grab some local island cuisine.

We headed out to the harbor to try a place that our rep had suggested only to find out that it had been closed. Desperately in need of some local island fare, we spotted another restaurant across the parking lot and decided to try our luck. We all tried different things from fish-n-chips to a chili dog (me). The chili was exceptional. Made with pork instead of beef.

As the day wore on and needing to stretch our legs, we decied to take the advice of our rep once again and take a short hike from where we ate lunch to see some turtles. A short 10 minutes later we were on a nice little beach and low and behold – TURTLES! Most were in the water and you could really only see their shells but one pooped little guy was sunning himself on the beach.

We headed back to the resort for some R&R in the pool and hot tub. After about and hour and a half we finished up with a light dinner and a movie. Yes a movie. It can’t all be fun in the sun. Sometimes it has to be chips, 6-layer dip, beer or cocktail and a movie. The Ghostbusters re-boot for the record.

I have attached a pretty good cross section of how are first couple days were like.

 

 

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Independent Merchants 2016-17

The Wrecking Crew

Week #4 –  18/17 (Points won/lost)

  • (150) Mr. Pink-{124}-{201}-{125}=450 {150} Even
  • (170) Lenny-{146}-{163}-{170}=479 {159} -21
  • (162) Ruben-{176}-{159}-{150}=485 {161} -1
  • (171) Tod-{164}-{191}-{176}=531 {177} +4
  • (198) James-{181}-{172}-{159}=512 {170} -28

Week #5 – 25/10 (Points won/lost)

  • (150) Mr. Pink-{147}-{132}-{138}=417 {139} -11
  • (167) Lenny-{172}-{144}-{143}=459 {153} -14
  • (157) Ruben-{168}-{159}-{156}=483 {161} +4
  • (173) Tod-{137}-{167}-{201}=505 {168} -5
  • (164) Brian-{166}-{201}-{139}=506 {168} +4

 

Week #6 – 9/26 (Points won/lost)

  • (164) Brian-{171}-{185}-{150}=506 {168} +4
  • (164) Lenny-{100}-{136}-{130}=366 {122} -42
  • (-) Ruben-Absent
  • (172) Tod-{157}-{132}-{166}=455 {151} -21
  • (191) James-{203}-{182}-{200}=585 {195} +4

 

Week #7 – 16/19 (Points won/lost)

  • (148) Mr. Pink-{213}-{144}-{159}=516 {172} +24
  • (157) Lenny-{148}-{145}-{169}=462 {154} -3
  • (158) Ruben-{129}-{116}-{168}=413 {137} -21
  • (168) Tod-{152}-{174}-{157}=483 {161} -7
  • (192) James-{195}-{258}-{201}=654 {218} +26

My apologies for not getting this out sooner. I have been swamped with many many things (as most of you can understand) and am just now getting to work on this.

As you can see we have been right in the middle of the road winning 68 and losing 72 points in the last 4 weeks. Combined with the first three weeks of bowling we now stand with 112/98 and ties us in 7th place. What does this mean to us going into the 8th and final week of the quarter; it means that we square off against the other team in 7th place in this, the position round, and with some luck we will make it into the top  six teams for some bonus money. I believe the top six teams will get some bonus cash plus money per point won like all teams are getting.

In other news, the lanes seem to be somewhat tacky on the approach. Normally they would allow for a smoother slide but almost every throw has me sticking. This has been mentioned to me by several other bowlers so I know it is real and not just my shoes having some moisture on the souls. I am hoping that because everything is new it is just a matter of time before the approach evens out and allows for a nice even slide. On a side note; last week I stuck so much with my left foot (the foot right-handed bowlers slide with) on one ball that I almost fell forward onto the lane. It was only thanks to my cat-like ninja skills and balance that allowed me to avoid stepping over the foul line and save the ball, which turned out to be a strike.

In general we all have been struggling in the long run although Linus started off on fire has cooled off temporarily. Hoping to see that same fire this week. I feel good about my equipment being all squared away and ready to punish the pins.

I think I will leave it there. I will try to make sure I get this ut in a more timely manner moving forward…no promises however! 😉

Peace be with you!

More to come…

 

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Yellowstone – Geysers and Mud Volcanos and Paint Pots…Oh My – Day 6 (Oct 13th)


Today was a little bit of clean-up in terms of seeing a few more places that we hadn’t got to earlier in the week.


We went through Firehole Canyon Drive on our way to Lower Geyser Basin where we did a walk-about to Fountain Paint Pot.
We continued on to Biscuit Basin  where we walked around another loop that encircled many of the key landscape features.


Made our way North around West Thumb to Pumice Point where we had a nice picnic alongside the waters edge.


We continued around the lake taking Gulf Point Drive to Bridge Bay. Afterwards we hit up LaHardys Rapids where we took a short walk along Yellowstone River.

Churning Cauldron from James Nutt on Vimeo.

Continuing onward we headed to Mud Volcano where we walked to Black Cauldron. This isn’t actually Black Cauldron,  but Churning Cauldron, a wicked continually roiling pool of water and mud.

Close Encounters… from James Nutt on Vimeo.

Along the way on Hayden Valley all traffic stopped in front of us due to these guys. It was amazing and totally scared the crap out of me. I just imagined one of these guys turning on our car and ramming it or me.


We finally make our way to Norris Geyser Basin, one of the last places we wanted to see but hadn’t been able to do so until now.


Headed back to the hotel and we once again stopped by bison crossing the road as well as seeing more elk off the side of the road.

Peace be with you!

More to come…

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Yellowstone National Park – Day 5 (Oct 12th)

Today was a bit of a busy day, although not the busiest we have planned for thus far, that comes tomorrow. 😉  We officially woke up by the 8-ish o’clock hour and systematically took care of all our needs – breakfast and the like before we walk to the parking lot to see frost on the top of the car and our water-bottles we left in the car…frozen nearly all the way through. Sweet!


Almost every day we were greeted by this handsome fellow and a bevy of beauties in the field just off the road.

We stop off and get gas just to be on the safe side and the day officially begins. We decide to make a shorter day of it partly in preparation for the long day we are going to have tomorrow and partly because I needed some more time in the evenings to write and because I am old.

We make our way past Madison and Norris and head for Canyon Village where we will be visiting the Washburn Hot Springs Overlook and the Grand Canyon of The Yellowstone. It was all about seeing geysers and mud-pools and every other crazy thing along the way we could visit. If we saw a critter we stopped. If we saw an interesting landscape feature…we stopped. It was all about seeing as much as possible.

It is really hard to explain the magnitude of all the impressive scapes we saw. I will let the pictures do the talking for me much more than my prattling on.

One of the first stops we made was at Gibbons Falls. The first pic on this post.


Next we stopped by Beryl Springs (this might have been my favorite pic of the day). The hot spring spouts steam all the time and coats the surrounding trees with the vapor. This is all well and good and during the day you don’t notice anything except maybe wet needles. During this time of year when things freeze at night. You get this effect in the morning before it has a chance to melt off. I imagine during the winter it sticks around all the time but as it isn’t winter…yet, we got to view this during the only time you can, in the morning.

We eventually made our way to Artists Paint Pots – many multi-colored pools as well as a few that spouted mud. It was cold out but we managed the entire circuit around this stop.


Later on we stopped at a nice open field for lunch. No else was around although we were kept company by a rather large and inquisitive crow. He was quite talkative too and edged ever closer whenever we let him.


We continued our trek around South Rim, North Rim, Upper Falls, Lookout Point, Grand View finally ending up at Washburn Hot Springs Overlook.


This is such a great view. One of thousands we have seen.


Peace be with you!
More to come…

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Yellowstone…at last! – Day 4 (Oct 11th)

We started the day by going out to breakfast at a really nice local place called Cafe Genevieve. It was a nice change of pace from eating hard boiled eggs for breakfast, which I had been doing the last several mornings. Jessica had huevos rancheros and I had biscuits and cajun gravy with a side of potatoes. Delicious!.

After breakfast we made our way from Jackson Hole in Wyoming and then drove into West Yellowstone, Montana. Along the way we stopped off at many areas to view the scenery and much of the wildlife that you might expect to see in Yellowstone such as buffalo, elk, wolves to name a few.


We also took time to stop in at the visitor center in Moose, Wyoming located in the Tetons. It was amazing. So much of the history, conservation practices of so many people so that we can enjoy all of this is sobering. I am humbled to see the amount of effort these people have gone through so that folks like me and my wife can visit when we want to.

During our journey today we managed to find a really secluded area that was at least a mile off the highway and once stopped and we were out of the car was so quiet. I think I have only experienced this kind of quiet before and that was when Jessica and I visited White Sands, New Mexico. It is deathly quiet. It was like that here too. Peaceful with just a hint of hyper-awareness of your surroundings lest a bear come upon us unawares.

After a bit of a drive, we stop off at one of the many geyser stops within Yellowstone (near our vicinity). It of course started to snow. Not to be daunted by mother-nature, we walk the wooden foot path that takes you around all of the guysers. It was amazing, if not cold as hell.

We continued our journey and eventually make our way to Old Faithful. This is really the epitome of this section of Yellowstone. There is a massive resort setup for the tourists and campers, more wooden foot-bridges and all the while with wild life just hanging out. We saw more buffalo and a wolf while making our way around all the other geysers not named “Old Faithful.” Oh, and I have to say this, we walked within 15-20 feet of a buffalo. Not that I recommend doing this but it had held the path hostage that we needed to use to get back to the parking lot. It came to a point after some minutes of the MASSIVE animal grazing the delectable grass on the opposite side of the path that a group of tourists, including ourselves, decide to quickly, calmly and quietly walk past the animal. We thought it was a big deal but he didn’t seem too impressed. I would be remiss if I didn’t show a pic of “Old faithful” here it is.

Who says bison don’t share the walk-way? from James Nutt on Vimeo. The video above was either going to be really exciting or maybe the last I ever record had things gone differently.

We we started back on the road finally deciding to make our way to our resort in West Yellowstone, we have our car stopped, traffic in both directions actually, by a large grizzled grey wolf. That was his coloring not necessarily his breed. He was taking his time crossing the road apparently keeping company with a smaller white/grey wolf walking a long the small river in the distance some 100 yards.

We also managed to see an elk cow and her young a bit later closer to the town we were heading to for the night. That was sweet.


Once in the town, we stop in at grocery store for some needed provisions…and alcohol for the next 3 days. That’s how they do in Montana – selling booze with the groceries. I love it.

Finally make it to our resort and crash for the night, left over Thai food for dinner in one hand and a cocktail in the other.Couldn’t find the Cubs vs SF Giants on t.v. so we are streaming it through Jessica’s phone. Go Cubs!

Peace be with you!

More to come…

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