Spent a great day in Venice, California, along the boardwalk. The only boards, however, are the surfing kind. Took lots of photos with my new Sony a6000 camera. Chatted up some of the vendors, including a sweet man who created miniature wireframe bicycles. Watched amazing urban acrobats careen across crowds, skateboarders ride concrete waves and surfers head for the briny seas.
Just returned from an amazing trip to the Garden Isle of Kauai in Hawaii. The weather was balmy, with gentle rains cooling us off from an array of adventures. Favorite place – walking along Hanalei Bay near our hotel. Stayed in the north at St. Regis Princeville – a real treat. The views were spectacular of the mythical Bali Hai from the movie South Pacific.
All over the island, roosters crowed and chickens clucked. These colorful birds roam free. I’ve vowed never to eat chicken again. I’ll keep you posted.
Splurged on a unique luau – KiloHana Luau – at the historic KiloHana Plantation on the east coast in Lihue. The grounds were beautiful and the performance unique. It is held each Tuesday and Friday evening and one of the most popular events on the island.
Explored Opaekaa Falls and nearby Wailua River.
Drove to the Na Pali along one-lane bridges and incredibly scenic horse ranches, Taro fields and beaches. Took a delightful hike at the lush Limahuli Gardens. The views were epic.
Later in the week, we moved our “camp” to the Marriott in Lihue. More sun down here, as we drove up the intense Waimea Canyon Road, flanked by deep canyons. Finally, arrived at the overlook for some more views of this “Grand Canyon of the Pacific.”
Drove a bit further up the winding road to my favorite view of the entire trip – the Kalalau Lookout – which overlooks the Na Pali Coast from on high.
Marty and Lori go Kauaian.
Spouting Horn on the southern coast in Poipu.
Swinging Bridge in Old Town Hanapepe. I lost my cap to the breeze blowing across the bridge, but gained a beautiful ocean-blue necklace from a local artist.
Spent my birthday in Hanalei and beyond. Caught a really sweet performance of old style slack key guitar and ukulele by Doug and Sandy McMaster at the Hanalei Community Center. Here’s a link on youtube to one of their performances. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=heW1QcuPZCY
Some more idyllic moments below. Actually, they were all pretty cool. Lived on Oahu many moons ago, and it still holds a special place in my heart. Hope to return to Kauai and her sister islands soon.
Every once in awhile I need a grand adventure, and I am driven to head towards the unfamiliar, away from everyday scenes. I just returned from such a trip… a solo drive from Los Angeles to Seattle. Over 2700 miles of trees, ocean and rain. Living in Los Angeles, I often miss the rain and the oft’ cloudy skies of my childhood on the east coast. So I went off to count the trees between LA and Seattle. That was the final destination, for both work and play. But, what happened in between was the adventure. I’d like to share some of my highlights with you.
I wanted to visit Mt. Rainier, and hoped the ‘Mountain would be out.’ I’d never seen it before due to rain and fog, but finally got my chance on an incredibly sunny day – in Washington terms – this July. Lucked out and got a room inside the park at the National Park Inn, where I watched a deer graze on the front lawn, majestic mountain looming above. The only other park lodging is in Paradise, on top of the world.
I took a hike near the fittingly named Paradise, where I stumbled upon a quote from John Muir about the illustrious wildflowers on the mountain. I had no idea he’d traveled this far.
The Nisqually Vista hike was incredible. No words can aptly describe the silence of the snow, wildflowers in bloom, or proximity to the 14 thousand foot-plus summit that feels close enough to touch.
On the way to Washington, I spent several days in my favorite Pacific Northwest town of Ashland in Southern Oregon.
Stayed at Best Western Bard’s Inn, right in town. The people at the desk were incredibly nice and helpful.
Although the town is known for its popular Shakespeare Festival, the Oregon Cabaret Theatre also delights. Saw Ain’t Misbehavin’ with an excellent cast.
Arriving in Seattle was, to say the least, overwhelming. Trees gave way to skyscrapers as I shot through the city, having no real idea where I was headed. Another tip for traveling to big cities, especially in the summer… have a reservation. I didn’t, and that led me on a bit of a chase looking for a room. I got a bit lost north of the city, and fortunately found my way to suburbs north in Edmonds and Everett. I fell in love with the tiny hamlet of Edmonds, right near the water, and would love to return. Green Lake, just north of downtown Seattle, was pretty, as well. The town surrounds a lake.
Stopped at the Woodland Park Zoo for a few hours on a rainy day. It’s in Green Lake, and very nice, for a zoo. Hate to see the animals caged, but they do help with animal conservation with the money raised by zoo funds.
Downtown Seattle, where I stayed at the Crowne Plaza, was daunting. Visited Pike’s Place, very crowded in the summer, and kept driving past the Space Needle. Lots of construction made it impossible to get to the needle itself, though if I kept trying, I probably would have eventually.
My view from the 10th floor of the Crowne Plaza, downtown Seattle.
Seattle waterfront with Olympia Sculpture Park and Space Needle in distance.
The hub-bub of Pike’s Place in the summertime and probably anytime.
After saying adieu to Seattle, I headed south via the 5 freeway. I stopped in the state capitol, where I stumbled upon a hemp festival. It is now legal to smoke there. I saw the capitol building and waterfront of this rather funky town.
I continued to head south, where I took a detour east on Highway 14 at the southern tip of Washington along the majestic Columbia River Gorge. I got a great view of Oregon’s Mt. Hood along the way.
After driving a half-hour or so, right after the Bonneville Dam, you can cross over to Oregon on the Bridge of the Gods. Here, I traveled west to see the stunning Multnomah Falls along the Gorge.
All in all, an amazing journey.
Succumbed once again to the call of the wild for a weekend sojourn in Big Bear. I’ve only passed through a time or two, so decided to actually stay to celebrate the Summer Solstice during the Jazz Trax weekend.
Stayed at the Marina Resort overlooking the lake. Nothing fancy, but was treated to an essentially free jazz festival that was held on the grounds, with such luminaries as Hiroshima, and Paul Taylor and Sax and the City. Especially enjoyed the smooth sounds of guitarist Norman Brown.
Visited the Big Bear Alpine Zoo which is actually a rehab center for creatures in need on the mountain and beyond, from a three-legged bear to a blind bunny and a pair of bald eagles.
Took a relaxing cruise across the lake on Miss Liberty. Passed a pirate tour and one of the country’s few solar observatories.
Eventually realized there really is no place like home at the CATS (Community Arts Theatre Society) creative rendition of the Wizard of Oz. This is the first time I’ve seen the play staged. I will never tire of the music of this show.
Just spent an amazing week at Lake Tahoe, hiking by the lake at historic, scenic Camp Richardson; taking a cruise on the Tahoe Queen; and driving north to the gold rush town of Truckee. It took a couple of days to get adjusted to the altitude, but adjusting to the clean air and sunshine took only minutes. I highly recommend Tahoe’s sparkling blue-green waters to cure your city blues.
Majestic Eagle Falls is right beside the road overlooking breathtaking Emerald Bay. You can hike up the falls or just climb above and feel like an Eagle overlooking the lake.
Stayed at Lakeshore Lodge and Spa, right on the lake. Had a budget-friendly room with a kitchen, which was convenient, and a view, which was priceless.
Drove to Truckee for lunch near Donner Pass Road, irony duly noted. Ate at Moody’s on Bridge Street in the historic Truckee Hotel. A quaint town to spend a couple of hours, especially during First Friday each month. It’s also just a short drive to Donner Lake. I drove back to Tahoe City via Highway 89, which parallels the rushing Truckee River, where you can go rafting on a warm summer’s day.