Goin’ Kauaian

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.

St. Regis and Bay St. Regis PrincevilleKayaks Beach Princeville

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.

Rooster Limaluli

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.

Luau Kalamaku
Vendor Luau Kalamaku

Explored Opaekaa Falls and nearby Wailua River.

Opaekaa Falls1

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.

oceans north kauai Limahuli Gardens and Preserve
Taro Fields

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.”

Life Grows Here Capturing the Canyon

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.

Lori Kalalau Lookout72 Kalalau Lookout

Marty and Lori go Kauaian.

Marty and Lori Go Kauaiian72

Spouting Horn on the southern coast in Poipu.

Spouting Horn 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.

Hanapepe Swinging Bridge

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

Hanalei Bay Restaurant Hanalei Church oldest horsesSlack Key Hanalei Community Center

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.

Beach Cat at Dukes Lihue Crazy Koi Kauai Marriott Weather Chart Koloa Market Peacock plant Trucking Delicious Why Rooster Crosses Road Wild in Hawaii Pup in a Box Kukulula Farmers Market Old Town Hanapepe
Sunset Over Kauai

2713 Mile Drive Round-trip from LA to Seattle

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.

Deer Mt. Rainier72

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.

Mt. Rainier John Muir Quote72

Mt. Rainier72

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.

Nisqually Hike Rainier72

Rainier Wildflowers72

On the way to Washington, I spent several days in my favorite Pacific Northwest town of Ashland in Southern Oregon.

Ashland Pond

Ashland Stream

Stayed at Best Western Bard’s Inn, right in town. The people at the desk were incredibly nice and helpful.

Bard's Inn Ashland

Thai Pepper

Door to your Dreams

Downtown Ashland at Night

Downtown Ashland

Dragonfly

Ducking

Lithia Park Duck

Lori in Lithia

Mariposa

Oregon Shakespeare Festival

Oregon Shakespeare Gift Shop

Although the town is known for its popular Shakespeare Festival, the Oregon Cabaret Theatre also delights. Saw Ain’t Misbehavin’ with an excellent cast.

Oregon Cabaret Theatre

OSF Costume

Star Sushi Roll

Star Sushi

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.

Edmonds Mural

Edmonds Washington

Randall J. Hodges Photography

Wild Salmon Tacos Everett

Green Lake Homes

Green Lake Park Seattle

Green Lake Surfers

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.

Woodland Park Zoo

Conservation 2

Conservation

Eagle

Giraffe

Lion

Penguin Lunch

African Savannah

Carousel WPZ

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.

Geometry

Cool Design

Seattle waterfront with Olympia Sculpture Park and Space Needle in distance.

Olympia Sculpture Park and Space Needle

The hub-bub of Pike’s Place in the summertime and probably anytime.

Pike Place Artwork

Pike Place Flowers

Pike Place Seafood

Pike Place Sign

The Music Scene

Umbrella Sculpture

VIew from Pike Place

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.

Downtown Olympia

Hemp Fest

State Capitol Olympia

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.

Gorgeous Gorge

Mt. Hood

Gorge

Driving towards the Hood

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.

Crowded Falls

Incredible Multnomah

Lori at the Falls

Majestic Falls

Multnomah Falls Oregon

Multnomah Falls

All in all, an amazing journey.

Jazzin’ it up in Big Bear

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.

Big Bear City

Big Bear Jazz Trax

martyandloribigbear2

Wildflowers

Twin Trees2

Pirate Sign Main Street

Spumoni ala Paolis

Googling Baby

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.

marina resort

Totem

Gone Fishin

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.

Big Bear Alpine Zoo

Eagles in Rehab

Took a relaxing cruise across the lake on Miss Liberty. Passed a pirate tour and one of the country’s few solar observatories.

Pirate Ship

Solar Observatory

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.

Wizard of Oz Play

Tahoe Driftin’

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.

A View from a Bench

Baldwin Estate

Bless America

Camp Richardson Kayaks

Docking in Tahoe

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.

Bird's Eye View

Eagle Falls Sign

Eagle Falls

Emerald Bay Afternoon

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.

Lakeshore Lodge and Spa

Looking towards heaven

Lunch at Camp Richardson

No Monk

Paddle Surfing Tahoe

Pine Cones

Pup

Ready, Aim, Shoot

Tahoe Beach

Tahoe Queen

Tahoe

Take a Seat

Teepee

Waiting in Line

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.

Welcome to Truckee

Donner Pass Sign

Moodys

Stuck in Truckee

Tahoe Towel

Truckee Bar