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Old 03-25-2017, 04:05 PM   #126
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Took off with the rental. Really worn down from the illness. Didn't even get out of Houston before taking a quick nap in the car.

Went downtown and wandered in Tranquility Park, which is a small space decided to the Apollo program. Headed west, and saw the Beer Can House.



I found out later that Houston has essentially no zoning laws. I guess a long time ago, the person who lived here decided to decorate with his empties. Now it's an art thing. By this time, it's probably 7:30 AM. It wasn't open yet, I didn't feel like hanging out til 9, so didn't go in.

All I can say is, he really liked cheap, light beer. Texas Pride or some such.

Headed west, mostly sticking to the back roads, as I was feeling terrible still. Every couple of hours I would find a shady, quiet spot like a town park, recline the driver's seat, and crash for a few minutes.

Went to the laundromat in Columbus, which is the hometown of some acquaintances. Ran into them the other day, mentioned I'd been in Columbus.

After a while, I found myself in Shiner and took the tour.



Here's how bad I was feeling: turned down free beer afterward.

Went along a bit further west, found a hotel in Seguin. Got there a bit after 5, brought one bag in, laid down, woke up after 6, got the other bag in. Called Mom to let her know I got back to the States o.k., took some NyQuil, went to bed about 6:45, out til 7:30 the next day.

Still feeling bad, but rallying. At least felt good enough to get something to eat. Started heading east again, saw this very impressive cloudbank. Horizon-to-horizon.



Fortunately, it wasn't full of thunderstorms or tornadoes (or they missed me). Wandering along I-10, I saw a sign for US 287, which goes about a five-iron from my house. Took that down to Port Arthur, where it ends. Reminded me of my hometown up north; seemed like it was once an important port, but now is pretty run-down and depressing.

Anyway, went as far east as the first exit in LA. They love their casinos over there; must've been five or eight at that exit. Wasn't in the mood, so turned around and went to Beaumont for the night.

Next morning, went down to the space center to take the tour. The actual Space Center Houston is outside of Johnson Space Center, and is pretty kid-oriented, though I did find enough to kill the morning. They have a tram that takes you into the actual Johnson Space Center, where you can see a few things, like the original Mission Control.



From which the world first learned that the Eagle had landed and that Kevin Bacon blew up 13. (Sorry for the bad exposure, it was kind of dim).

Another stop was walking above the training and simulation area. Some buggy-type vehicles down there.



This machine is meant for simulating low-gravity environments. You can't see it too well, but there's somebody suspended, and they were training how to use a wrench when you don't have gravity or something to brace against.



Also, the shuttle simulator is still on the floor. The guide said they'd be moving that out sometime. They should make that an attraction. I'd pay $20 or so to crash the shuttle.

After that, I met up with somebody who I'd worked with remotely, getting our system to use his services. It was nice to meet in person after all those emails and calls. He's the person who told me about Houston's lack of zoning.

Went up to my hotel near the airport for the last night. Not sure this really qualifies under zoning, but I saw what Andrew meant: On one side of my hotel (just a cheap budget place) was a Super 8. On the other was a McLaren dealership.

One of these things is not like the others.

In the morning, just up to Waffle House for breakfast, then return the car, fly home. I think I got home on a Thursday, still sick, just laid around, laundry, catch up on home things etc until work on Monday. It hung on (but was good enough so I didn't miss work) for about another week. In fact, I've still got an annoying, occasional cough about 1 month later.

Anyway, I think that's going to be in for a while. Right now, I'm down to about 30 hours of time off, so build that up while trying to figure out the next adventure.

I've got ~125K miles on United if anybody has any suggestions. Haven't really looked into where I can go with that.

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Old 04-26-2017, 11:36 AM   #127
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Re: golddog runs around

Just found this due to a site search of "Laramie". Pretty interesting so far. Looking forward to catching up!
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Old 04-28-2017, 08:40 PM   #128
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Just found this due to a site search of "Laramie". Pretty interesting so far. Looking forward to catching up!
Thanks, Mark. Hope you enjoy.
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Old 07-15-2017, 05:41 PM   #129
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Ah crap, I see photobucket's terms got me like Dubnjoy. Well.

Anyway, just an update. Nearly out of PTO earlier this year, building that back up. Looks like next travel worth a report is February 2018. Just finished booking tickets/car/lodging for a few days around Hawaii.

I'll probably go up north again at the holidays, but that's never worth talking about.

At some point, I'll try to get back to photobucket and see what's what, or move my photos to another provider. I looked at imgur, but they inexplicably can't do a hierarchy of folders. Seems like a big organizational headache.

Welcoming other suggestions.
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Old 07-16-2017, 07:24 AM   #130
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Re: golddog runs around

Darn, you got had as well

Photobucket's price is outrageous (500$ yearly), not sure which other to suggest (perhaps flickr.com), I just switched to imgur. GL
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Old 07-16-2017, 12:53 PM   #131
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Yep, they finally found me out.

Thakns for the ideas. I looked at imgur, didn't like that they don't allow something as straightforward as a hierarchy of albums. Seems like an organizational nightmare, but they are still in the running.

Haven't really started researching, it's summer and I'm going outside.
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Old 09-21-2017, 10:56 AM   #132
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Huh. My pictures are back. Maybe I just have them cached. Or maybe that jackoff CEO of photobucket died and they went back to a sensible model.

Anyway, I'm traveling again. Going back to the midwest for a few days to console some friends from my former life whose young-adult daughter passed away unexpectedly.

So, it won't be a fun trip. Probably nothing to write about, but as I'm traveling and this is my travel blog, figured I should make an entry.
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Old 09-21-2017, 04:40 PM   #133
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For some reason, United (really the TSA, I guess) didn't give me pre check, despite my having Global Entry. Grrr.

So, I had to go through the slow line, which they stopped for no particular reason. I was there very early compared to my flight, so no big deal, just frustrating to go through the charade of security.

A small win on the way over. Flying some sort of Canadair regional jet by SkyWest, only 12 rows, two seats on each side of the aisle. I was seated next to the only open seat.

Picking up the rental car took over half an hour. I don't know what these two womemn at the front of the line were doing, but I've bought cars in less time than it took them to get their rental.

But anyway, got here, saw one set of friends. Early dinner, then off to the visitation to see the people that are the reason for my visit. Probably see some others I haven't seen in quite a while. I saw a lot of old names on the email trails letting people know about the tragedy.
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Old 09-24-2017, 12:59 AM   #134
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Re: golddog runs around

Fine pictures and story telling. Thank you for sharing.
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Old 09-24-2017, 05:42 PM   #135
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Fine pictures and story telling. Thank you for sharing.
Thanks, HUMBLE. I'm glad you've enjoyed it.
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Old 10-09-2017, 09:47 PM   #136
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Another "trip I'd rather not take, but it is travel" entry. Heading up north to my hometown to help care for my mother tomorrow for a week.

I doubt there will be any pictures or stories from this trip either.
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Old 12-29-2017, 09:45 AM   #137
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On the road again. Going up north to visit Mom, so probably no stories or anything. Just sitting at DIA waiting fr the flight to MSP.

I see the highest temperature while I'm there is scheduled to be 6F. And nobody can figure out why I moved away.

Anyway, Hawaii in February--hopefully I'll gather decent pics and stories there.
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Old 01-04-2018, 08:13 PM   #138
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Re: golddog runs around

I never clicked on the "Travel" link on the left side of the page until I posted my questions about the FL Keys a few weeks ago.

As our President would say, since you "said nice things about me" in that thread, I decided to check out your thread, and I'm so glad I did! I'm about one page in now (Costa Rica, South Africa, VicFalls), and I can't wait to come back and spend more time here. The photography is sensational! For a guy who's never owned a camera, I'm pretty snobby about photography--I once skimmed Photography For Dummies, and now think I know everything about composition, etc--and I'm very pleased with your work!

(I guess our President uses a lot of exclamation points, too. WTF is happening to me???)

Finally, just wanted to give props to this paragraph, which made me throw back my head and LOL:

Quote:
I was considering how strange it would be to travel all the way to Africa, and instead of being eaten by a lion or trampled by an elephant, to have the cause of death listed as "termites rotted the deck, which collapsed, and sent him and a tub full of water straight into the electrified fence."
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Old 01-04-2018, 10:02 PM   #139
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I never clicked on the "Travel" link on the left side of the page until I posted my questions about the FL Keys a few weeks ago.

As our President would say, since you "said nice things about me" in that thread, I decided to check out your thread, and I'm so glad I did! I'm about one page in now (Costa Rica, South Africa, VicFalls), and I can't wait to come back and spend more time here. The photography is sensational! For a guy who's never owned a camera, I'm pretty snobby about photography--I once skimmed Photography For Dummies, and now think I know everything about composition, etc--and I'm very pleased with your work!

(I guess our President uses a lot of exclamation points, too. WTF is happening to me???)

Finally, just wanted to give props to this paragraph, which made me throw back my head and LOL:
Thanks, I appreciate the kind words. I'm just glad that photobucket apparently came around, I haven't tended to getting things moved.

I can't remember if I mentioned it in my ramblings, but w/r/t the lion thing:

Somehow, before that trip, at work we got into some weird "how many ways Africa can kill you" discussion. Lions, elephants, disease, the whole thing.

This has become kind of a theme since, and we put together a "pool" before each trip. People come up with more and more arcane ways (which I like).

Before Antarctica, for example, Danielle had "caveman thaws out from a glacier due to global warming and stabs you with his spear."

Hawaii next month, so far I'm going with: DPRK launches a nuke for LA, misses by 5000 miles and hits Hawaii. But, it doesn't explode, instead landing in a volcano and splashing me with lava, thus incinerating me.

Yeah, we're kind of dark.
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Old 02-09-2018, 12:06 PM   #140
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On the road again. Sitting at DIA, waiting for a flight to Honolulu to begin boarding.

I had a United Club pass from signing up for the credit card, so sitting in their lounge. Good wifi, some food out (bagels, fruit, cereal, nothing major). I have no other clubs to compare it to. It's pretty nice I guess.

Unusual for Denver, but there's fog at the airport today. I see a plane pulling up, so I assume it's not so bad that they can land. Seems like taking off is less risky than landing, and my flight doesn't go til 11:30 AM, so I"m not too worried about it.

By tonight, I should be on Oahu, enjoying the scene in Haliewa.
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Old 02-10-2018, 02:56 AM   #141
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Re: golddog runs around

Tell me you're going to Kauai
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Old 02-10-2018, 01:51 PM   #142
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chop,

Nope, sorry. A couple days on Oahu, then four on Hawaii.

Got into Honolulu last night. For what seems to be not a huge city, traffic terrible. Got out of town and headed up to Haleiwa.

Stayed in this place called Shark's Cove Rentals. It's three houses on a lot across from the cove, with common areas. I want to like it more than I do. Arrived after dark, it was a little hard to find. Got here, nobody's around. Fortunately, one of the other guests knew they'd left an envelope out front (I saw the note in the light this morning). Just didn't sleep well--just enough traffic, and the walls are thin (so other's noise--I'm sure I bothered them too) to keep me up.

Anyway, it's probably fine for what it is. Convenient access to Foodland a couple bloacks down to get some stuff.

Anyway, here's a picture from this morning



Plan is to head around the island clockwise, stopping at some of the parks and whatnot for hikes and pictures. Have a place to stay a few blocks off of Waikiki for a couple nights. Go see Pearl Harbor stuff tomorrow, hopefully have time to hike Diamond Head.
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Old 02-10-2018, 09:42 PM   #143
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Re: golddog runs around

It's been many hours and I fail to see a photo of spam musabi yet.
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Old 02-11-2018, 02:46 AM   #144
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It's been many hours and I fail to see a photo of spam musabi yet.
Not sure what musabi is. Sounds Japanese. Staying by Waikiki for two nights, plenty of Japanese places to see if I can figure that out. Still, I'm not a food picture taker.

Day started out by going the wrong way, then back to Waimea Valley. You take a short hike up the valley, following the river to the falls.

I had a write-up going, but between my travel laptop and photobucket, it sucks. Anyway, I drove around Oahu, found my place near Waikiki in the afternoon. Wandered around the beach til sunset.

Mallory Square > Waikiki for sunset.

Going to try to hike Diamond Head tomorrow, then have a reservation to go see the USS Arizona memorial in the afternoon.

Then, down to Hawaii island the next morning.

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Old 02-11-2018, 01:22 PM   #145
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Bacon/egg/spam musubi FTW!
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Old 02-12-2018, 01:22 AM   #146
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Waimea Falls: Take a trail up the valley, following this small river.



until you get to a small pool/waterfall at the top





There was also a lot of information on the plants, and a little display on how the native people used to live in the area pre-Europeans. I didn't spend a lot of time on those.

On the way back down I noticed this tree



but forgot to ask about what it was.

From there, I took the highway around Oahu. Kinda cloudy, so not great pictures. Surf wasn't super rough like I imagined. Too much for me, but it wasn't waves bigger than a house.

I liked this picture of the fisherman



and did see some surfing here & there



Here's sunset on Waikiki. Notice the plane too, all kinds of transport. I think that's chopstick and de captain out there.

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Old 02-12-2018, 01:51 AM   #147
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Today, started at Diamond Head and hiked up.



After that, went over to see Manoa Falls. Kinda like Waimea, you go up a valley and get to a falls and pool. This seemed to be less manicured, more natural.



I don't know how the native people got through the jungle, as thick as it was.



There were signs about not to swim in the pool due to lepitsirosis, which (it says) is in all the natural water. Maybe Waimea treats theres.

Then, I went off to Pearl Harbor, but had time to kill, so drove over the the west shore and had lunch over there. Back to Pearl, where I went on the USS Arizona memorial tour.



Pearl Harbor day happens to be my Mom's birthday (though not the same year). I also remember, years ago, an uncle of mine showing me, in the basement of their childhood home, where he'd written on a beam that the Japanese had attacked Pearl Harbor. I couldn't find that again when we sold the home when his brother died.



At one end of the memorial, they have a wall with all the crewmen who were killed. The pedestal in front (another on the left) lists survivors whose wishes were to have their remains with their crewmates as they passed away.



Anyway, it was very well done. Great exhibits on land going over not only what happened, but leading up to it. Among the things I remember were FDR's "day of infamy" speech. Three pages, double-spaced. Kind of interesting to see the handwritten changes. I don't remember what "infamy" replaced, but there was originally another (apparently less memorable) phrase.

Drove over to the eastern shore, took the state highway back.



Back for another Waikiki sunset



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Old 02-14-2018, 10:09 PM   #148
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Left Oahu the other morning. Unfortunately, plane was broken, so we had to get off and pile on another one. An hour or so delay, no big deal.

Got into Hilo, went into town looking for lunch. Seems like kind of a dump. Headed out to the place I was staying:



This guest house on a property out in the woods, a few miles east of the NP. Rachelle got me situated, and off to the park I went.

It was rainy/drizzly that day, so just drove around the park and did a few short hikes/paths.





Back to the house, and met Pono, who was renting the other room. He's a ranger on the park's search and rescue team. He advised going back now that it was dark, going to Kilauea overlook instead of the musuem, and checking out the glow.

Sorry for the bad picture, I didn't bring a tripod, too long an exposure. But anyway, you can't see the lava directly because of the crater rim, and during the day the color is washed out by the sun.





Good advice too, the Kilauea overlook was mostly deserted, and I could actually hear the lava as well as see its effects. I went up to the museum as well, maybe a slightly better view, but people don't know how to STFU and take in nature.

The next morning, the weather much nicer, I went back to the park. Down Chain of Craters road to the ocean.

After filling out the clue in the NY Times crossword for these many years, finally found out what a nene actually is.



Like most NP roads, there's pullouts all over the place to see various interesting things, mostly craters and old lava flows in this case.







Got to the end of the road, where I found that the actual end of the road was a four mile hike back in, which I wasn't up for. (At some point, a lava flow covered the old road). So, I just checked out the sea cliffs.



I didn't notice the caves being eaten away until just now. There are lots of signs warning that the cliffs will break off without warning. I wasn't super close to the edge, but if that's what was under me...

Anyway, back up the road. There were some pteroglyphs along the way. If course, nobody knows why they were carved, but interesting none the less.



and some more interesting lava



and some craters







Walked another trail which went through the steam vents area. Kind of interesting to see the chemical reactions over time.





After getting back to the car, I went back to the house for a little bit. Came back to see the glow, but it didn't seem as good the second night. Rachelle and I had a beer and talked for a while afterward, pretty quiet night.
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Old 02-14-2018, 10:40 PM   #149
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Here;s one from the second night's glow that came out o.k.



Early this morning, I awoke to the sound of fairly heavy rain. Hope I rolled the car windows up. Oh well, too late now. It woke me off and on through the night, so I started worrying about getting out. (Remember, I'm out in the woods, down a gravel road a mile from pavement in a Nissan Altima).

Off and on rain all morning, but got out with no problems.

Happened to pull off at Punalu'u beach, which is this black sand beach.



Still between sprinkles and heavy rain off and on, headed down to south point, the actual southernmost point in the US (FU Key West). There wasn't a marker or anything there, near as I could find. The rain was decently hard there, so I decided this thing was the marker.



There's also a green sand beach 2.25 mile hike away. Would've been interesting to see had the weather been nice.

Kind of went along Hwy 11, as I got on the west side, the weather cleared. Found my place for the night, Dragonfly Ranch. Seems nice enough so far.



Simple room, outside toilet and shower. Looks like there's a deck up top for sunset. Went on a little drive and found Kealakekua Bay, where Captain Cook was killed. There's a marker over there.



Chris and Denise from Vancouver Island, who I met the other day, say it's not worth the time to go see it up close.

Took the scenic route back, stopped and bought some coffee for friends. Came upon this crazy palm



Anyway, tomorrow is another drive, poking along to end in Waimea. Happens to be Pono's hometown, I need to find some restaurant he recommended which I completely failed to write down. Not a very big town, I hope the sign will jog my memory.
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Old 02-15-2018, 10:56 PM   #150
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Rain off and on (mostly on) all day up the coast from Captain Cook to the top of Hawaii, then back south to Waimea.

Got up here, it was raining steadily. It's a small town, went for a short walk. Started raining buckets. Worst part is my shoes are soaked, and there's no way they'll dry by morning.

Flash flood warnings until 6AM tomorrow. Hopefully I sleep through most of that.

Internet crappy here too. Not sure if I'll feel up to writing and adding pics after dinner, or just wait.

Tomorrow, over the saddle into Hilo for my last night on the island.
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