Monday, July 15, 2013

Adventures on O'ahu

First, and foremost, Jim and I would like to thank Sean and ChunHua for this memorable Hawaiian adventure.
Our trip began flying to O'ahu.......our first sight of the island was from the airplane window.  The water color was a breath taking sight of every color of aqua you can imagine.  After settling our 'stuff', we headed to Waikiki beach, which was a block from out hotel.  What a sight....all the local kids body surfing and surf boarding in swelling waves.  We stayed until sunset and got some terrific shots of the sun slowly sinking in the western sky.
The next day we took a trip around the island in search of the turtles and more awesome sights.  Our first stop was to climb Diamond Head Crater.  It is the most recognized landmark on O'ahu and its two volcanic shields are for O'ahu's creation over 2.5 million years ago.  We then ventured north on O'ahu's eastern shore and experienced a blow hole. (volcanic tubes under land that water spews from due to oceanic wave action.). We were in awe at the dramatic mountain range of Ko'olau and the sheer fluted cliffs, carpeted with every shade of green and never failed to impress us.  On our drive we saw many small islands off shore.  One in particular caught our attention.  It is known as Chinaman's hat and it really does look like a chinaman's hat!!!  We made it to turtle bay and saw many large sea turtles, but unfortunately, could not capture one on film.  And, unlike Waikiki, the northern part of O'ahu, is laid us the feeling of Hawaiian time....slow and easy.  We enjoyed a leisurely time there talking with some of the local people.
The next day was enjoyed by the pool and just some relaxation time.
On Friday we went to visit the USS Arizona Memorial.  When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941, 21 vessels were damaged or sunk, but the USS Arizona caused the most deaths.....1,177 young lives were snuffed out when the armor-piercing bomb dropped and drilled through her top deck and ignited the battleships own ordinance.  The vessel sank in only 9 minutes and it is a miracle that 337 were able to escape and survive!!!  Standing on the memorial, perched over the sunken ship and the many men still entombed under our feet, brought the reality to the present day for Jim and I.  Seeing the marble wall with their names engraved, only then did the event that happened many years ago, cement in our minds the horrific tale of the beginning of WWII,  turning an event of part of our history, to an assault that stole the lives of people like you and me.  Also, standing over the sunken ship we were able to view the oil that is still seeping from the ship and are known as tears of sorrow being shed by the mighty Arizona in remembrance of her brave boys lost!!!
From there we went to visit the USS Missouri Battleship which is a short distance from the USS Arizona.  When the Navy was looking for a resting place for this ship, the symbolism of location was a fitting place to rest her, placing the floating ship that ended WWII next to the sunken ship where the war began.  It was on the Missouri's decks in Tokoyo  Bay the Japanese signed the surrender documents bringing the fighting in the Pacific to an end!
The "Mighty Mo" was launched in 1944, near the end of the war.  It was the last battleship ever built and only 11 years in service, it was considered obsolete and put to rest in 1955.  She was brought back into service in the mid 80's for a short time and armed with tomahawk missiles. The usefulness of battleships had long passed, even for a giant that is 887 feet long and weighs over 100 million pounds.  It was a real treat to be able to walk the decks and peer into how the sailors lived and to appreciate the sheer scale of this vessel.  Looking back in time it must have caused fear in the enemies hearts to see this mighty warship coming a them in anger!
The next day we decided to go visit some of the islands military bases.  One in particular interested both Jim and I, was the Schofield Barracks.  I am reading 'From Here to Eternity' which takes place on O'ahu and at this particular base.  We were hunting a museum at this base, got so lost and when we finally found it, we were told it was closed. (how frustrating)  Schofield is a US Army installation and was established in 1908 to provide mobile defense of Pearl Harbor and the entire islands.  From there we entered Wheeler Army Air base, which is a very small base and had evolved into a primary base for Army aircraft responsible for air defense of the Hawaiian Islands territory.  It is also known as the first Hawaii-to-mainland solo flight in 1935 by Amelia Earhart.  Next is Hickam Air Force Base and currently shares runways with the Honolulu International Airport.  This base had many names and was officially activated September 1938.  It, then, was principally an Army airfield and today is the property of the Air Force since 1941.  I was so impressed with the size of the shopping facilities.  Two stores full of anything you could ever possibly want or need.  In addition to that, a food court and various other shops.
Another day we visited the Punchbowl National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.  Not only are there fallen military buried there, but a huge memorial built for those who were never recovered.  Each name engraved in marble slabs rising to the memorial chapel and tribute to the fallen men in various battles in the Pacific.  It brought tears to my eyes at the enormity and honor this memorial dedicated to those who served our country.  Its location is in a huge crater that shadows Honolulu.  It is the final resting place for those who served in World War I, World War II, the Korean and Vietnam wars.  Both veterans and dependents have been interred there.  Next we visited the aviation museum on Ford Island in Pearl Harbor.  It is located in 2 hangers that still shows the signs of that horrific day when the Japanese struck so long ago.  this museum honors the patriotism, valor and sacrifice made by Americans in defense of freedom in the Pacific.
Our last day on the Island we visited the west coast of O'ahu.  Here we saw some wondrous landscaped.   It seems there is one continuous beach along this leeward side of O'ahu, but they are individually named.  Also, this part of O'ahu seems to be the least populated, but where the more common folk live.  Also, we visited a pineapple plantation owned by Dole.  It is undeniably a classic tourist trap, but we wanted to stop just to say we were there.  They do have a world renown hedge maze that is largest in the world and a train tide through the pineapple fields, but we just wanted to peruse the gift shop, have a cup of coffee and continue on back to the hotel.

The Hawaiian Islands were discovered by Captain James Cook in 1778.  They were named the Sandwich Islands after the Earl of Sandwich of England.  About a year later during a dispute,  Capt. Cook met his demise when the Islanders thought he killed their King.  Later, the Islands were renamed to what we now know as the Hawaiian Islands.  We hope you enjoyed this 'walk' about the Island of O'ahu as much as we did.

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Adventures on Table Mountain

     North and South Table mountain are two separate plateaus.  Located just outside Oroville, CA, it has an obvious name.  It has a flat surface at the top.  The mountain is mostly private, but includes small areas that are considered wild life and contain 17 named waterfalls and numerous caves.  We did not see the waterfalls or search the caves, but did see Oroville Dam and its spillway, which supported some totally awesome vista's.  When we arrived to the very top, we parked the car and walked amongst the flowers and if we had gone further we would have been walking with the cows of a local rancher that has opened his land so all could view the marvels of this mountain mesa.
     Some of my pictures show the lava walls and outcropping mounds of the lava flow, which are formed from and ancient volcano.  The mountains are believed to have been formed 14 - 39 million years ago.  Amazing, huh?
     On our way down the mountain, we passed through a small ghost town (some people still live there....about 20) of Cherokee.  It got its name because a small group of Cherokee Indians were brought there and they established a community.  It was a thriving town and was the center of a diamond mine and probably a gold mine or two.  Today there is a silicon mine at the bottom of North Table Mountain.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Adventures at Fort Bragg

Recently, Jim and I were very fortunate to be able to enjoy a few days at Fort Bragg, CA, a gift from Lani and Richard.  We stayed at the North Cliff Hotel.  Part of the package included a dinner at the Cliff House Restaurant, which was across the inlet and viewed from our room.  Both the restaurant and the hotel had excellent views of the water, as you will see in the pictures.  Our room was located on the top floor and afforded us the best view of the ocean and inlet.  We also had a cozy fireplace with our room and wonderful breakfast rolls and drinks......truly a great place to stay!!!  The day we arrived was sunny, but cool and knowing the next day was going to be rainy, we hurried to glass beach, to get a view......and pick up some glass.
Glass beach was formed in the early 20th century by residents who threw their 'trash' over the cliffs onto the beach below.  It is rumored that they even rolled junk cars over the edge.....thus, red glass (tail lights) can still be found, on rare occasions, to this day.  This was later halted by CA Water Resources Control Board.  Clean up began and now all that remains are glass and bits of pottery.
In prehistoric days the area now known as Fort Bragg was home to American Indians, most of whom belonged to the Pomo tribe.  They were hunter/gatherers who lived along the northern coast of CA.  Between 1855-1867 the Bureau of Indian affairs established a site at Noyo of 25,000 acres.  The following year, First Lt. Gibson, of the US Army, established a military post just north of the Noyo River site and named the camp after his former commander, Capt. Bragg (who later became General of the Army).  Then, between 1867-1892,  the fort was abandoned due to lumber mills being built at the mouth of every creek and river around.  The city of Fort Bragg became Incorporated in 1889.  Since 1916 Fort Bragg has been a tourist area as well as a former industrial town full of lumber workers.  We enjoyed ourselves in spite of the rain.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Mackinac Island

/Recently, I took a trip to visit family and friends in Delaware and Maryland.  One day later, we took another trip to Michigan to visit my step mother, brother and Sue and then out to South Haven to visit Judy and Jim.  While there, Shelly surprised me with a trip to Mackinac Island.....I couldn't believe it....I was so happy!!!We stayed two nights and crammed in horse back riding, a carriage trip,a walking tour. Eating at fancy restaurants that were scrumptious.  Did some touristy type things like buy just can not leave the island without buying fudge. ( The locals call tourists."fudgies"and with good reason.)  The island is filled with history,( much more than I realized when I was eight years old). To which, I will devote this blog entry.  Before I do that I would like to thank Shelly and Chip for the expense of the trip and time spent.  And then a thanks to Art and Rita for the fantastic crabs and time set aside for visiting with me. THANKS!!!!
Now, on to Mackinac Island.....Visitors to Mackinac Island arrive by ferry.  Automobiles are not allowed on the Island, with two exceptions.  In the winter snowmobiles are allowed, they take the trek on the ice road to the main land for supplies.  And the one and only snow plow, which clears the road for the twenty horses that remain on the island.  The other horses are shipped back to the main land and housed there until spring.  Lets just say they are on vacation. The automobile ban began in 1898.  Meaning no exhaust, noise and picturesque horse drawn carriages.  Most people get around the island by either walking, riding a bike or by horse.  I am very familiar with the horse mode.......Shelly and I rode horses through the town and into the woods, all in a heavy downpour.  Thankfully, the woods provided some protection from the elements.  However, my horse decided he needed to scratch his hide on a nearby tree and almost 'RUBBED' me off.....much to Shelly's amusement!!!  (Sorry, I got side tracked)  The island is 8 miles in circumference and boasts of dynamic views of Lake Huron and Lake Michigan and the island, itself.  Mackinac's first people were the Great Lakes American Indians.  These Woodland-period peoople paddled to the Island every summer to fish.  The considered the island to be a sacred place and named it 'Michilimackinac' which translates to 'place of the great turtle'. (the island resembles a turtle in shape).  In time, the islands name was shortened to Mackinac with a silent c.  Actual pronunciation is: Mackinaw, the c remains in the spelling, so as not to confuse it with the city on the main land, Mackinaw City
Many wars and revolutions took place on or around the island.  The British took possesion after the seven year war (1761).  During the American revolution,(1779-1781) the fort was established by British commander, Patrick Sinclair, with the islands strrp limestone bluff, suppling a perfect location for the new structure.  The fort and island then became United States territory as a result of the American victory in the revolution.  Between 1812-1815 the British fought to recover the island and succeeded.  After the war American peace negotiators accomplished wat their troops failed to do, as the peace treaty restored the island and fort Mackinac to the United States.  During the Civil war, Fort Mackinac was used to house three wealthy residents from Tennesee as prisoners.

In 1875 Mackinac Island Nationa Park was created.  Since then, it has been deemed a resort.  On the island now, there are cottages, hotels, homes and a large quantity of shops and restaurants.  The island boasts a medical center, post office, school, churches and of course tourist attractions.  Since 1895 the state park commission has protected and maintained the historic and natural wonders of this beautiful island.  The pictures are of our hotel, arch rock, the fort, horse drawn carriage and St. Annes church.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Filoli House and Gardens (Woodside, CA)

The name Filoli was created by Mr. William Bourne, original owner of the home.  It stands for :  Fight for a just cause; Love your fellow man; Live a good life.
Mr. and Mrs. William Bourne II had the estate built between the years 1915-1917 and resided in the home from 1917-1936.  During that time the gardens were formed and maintained.  The estate and gardens sit on 654 acres.  The second owners of the home were Mr. and Mrs. William Roth.  Mrs. Roth donated the estate in 1975 to the National Trust for Historical Preservation.
Filoli represents an excellent example of architecture and garden design from the first part of the 20th century.  The house is predominately modified-Georgian.  It also has other major architectural designs throughout the estate.  Thus, reflects a Golden Age, free from the conventional rules of design and exuding creativity and expression.
The house contains 36,000 sq. ft. of interior space between two floors and a mezzanine.  Most of the rooms have 17 foot ceilings with the exception of the ballroom, which has a 22 1/2, gold leaf bordered, ceiling.  The house boasts 43 rooms and 17 fire places.  The gardens are renaissance, in style, with brick laid in Flemish bond.  Exterior details of the trim are from the Stuart period, while the tiled roof is in the Spanish tradition.  The pictures are of the kitchen, library, mezzanine and ballroom (including one with Jim standing by the ballroom fireplace, showing the enormity of it).  Also, some shots of the exterior showing the brick pattern, which is laid throughout all the gardens.
Thanks to Sean and Chun hua for the gift of tickets for entry to Filoli Gardens.  This estate reminds me of Winterthur estate and gardens, but on a smaller scale.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Adventures at the Grand Canyon

We have been told the Grand Canyon is one of the seven wonders of the world. We can only say that we were in awe how massive and beautiful this canyon is. We only saw several miles of this wonder. The Grand Canyon is actually 277 miles long, one mile deep and covers a total of 1,900 square miles. It was discover in 1540 by Spanish explorer Don Lopez de Cardenas, a captain in Coronado's expedition. The colorado River flows west through the canyon and average depth is 100 feet and 300 feet wide. It empties into the Gulf of California in Mexico.

Five different Indian Tribes currently occupy the region and many species of mammal, birds, reptiles and amphibians currently live in the canyon.

We took the free transportation to different points to be able to view some of the more spectacular sights.

The Grand Canyon attracts at least 4.5 million tourists each year.....some from many different countries. It made us proud that the U.S.A. had something so beautiful that it attracted people from afar to view this natural wonder.

Our pictures just do not do the canyon justice. Most of what I took captured a misty appearance and therefore not sharp and distinct colors and shapes. That was disappointing, but hopefully you will get the 'feel' for the grandeur of the Grand Canyon that is gave us. Enjoy!!!

Monday, October 04, 2010

Adventures in Sedona, AZ

Often called the Red Rock Country, Sedona is full of fun, history and archaeology. All this, with a back ground of some of the most breath taking scenery in the world! This is an artist's paradise.

We did not walk the town, but every turn we took we had to stop and take in the awesome view (and, of course, take some pictures).

Enjoy the pictures......they speak for themselves.!!!!!

Adventures at London Bridge

In 1962, London Bridge was falling down. (Actually, it was sinking). Built in 1831, the bride couldn't handle the ever increasing flow of traffic across the Thames River. The British government decided to put the bridge up for sale. Robert McCulloch, founder of Lake Havasu City, AZ, submitted a winning bid of $2,460,000.

The bridge was dismantled, each stone numbered and shipped 10,000 miles to Long Beach, CA, then trucked to Lake Havasu, AZ. Reconstuction began on September 23 1968.

London Bridge crosses a narrow boating channel that connects with Thompson Bay on the Arizona side of Lake Havasu.

This is a short blog, but such an important piece of history we wanted to share with you. Hope you enjoy!!!!

Adventures in Oatman, Az.

Jim and I visited Oatman, AZ on our way back to Texas. We stopped at our usual KOA in Needles, Ca. and called our friends, Chuck and Judy Pease. (They were staying at a park in a nearby town.) They talked us into staying an extra day and they would take us sight seeing. Thus Oatman, Az and London Bridge in Lake Havasu City, Az. (London Bridge will be a future blog).
Oatman was a gold mining town 100 years ago. The town was named after Olive Oatman, who was kidnapped as a young girl by Mojave Indians and later rescued in 1857 near the current site of the town.

The mining boom was short lived. In 1921, a fire burned down many of the smaller shacks in town, and three years later, the main mining company shut down operations for good. After that, Oatman survived by catering to the travelers on old Route 66. In the 1960's, when the road by passed the town it became Route 40 and Oatman almost died.

Today they survive as a "fun place to visit". It is now an authentic old western town with burros roaming the streets and gun fights staged on weekends. The burros are tame and can be hand fed. They are direct descendants of the burros that were originally brought in when mining was active. When the miners left, they turned the burros loose to fend for themselves.

It was so 'neat' to see these animals and be able to feed and pet them. Thanks Chuck and Judy!!!

Hope you enjoy!!!!