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Old 02-16-2018, 11:29 PM   #151
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Re: golddog runs around

Waimea rain turned into a cold. It's not terrible, but I'm not in the mood to write.

Quickly, got up, drove over Saddle Road (between Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa) down into Hilo. Once again, mostly rain. Close to town, there's a couple of nice spots for seeing waterfalls and caves, but mostly wanted to get checked in and lay down for a bit.

Tomorrow, the plane leaves late, so I'm planning to go down the SE coast for a ways, then back to airport to start heading home.
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Old 02-18-2018, 02:53 PM   #152
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Re: golddog runs around

Yesterday, went down toward Pahoa in the (of course) rain and checked out the SE coast.

After lunch, the clouds broke a little bit, and I went a ways north from Hilo. Really nice, lush tropical areas.

At DIA right now waiting the next bus out to suburbia. Pretty tired from not sleeping much on either flight, but I'll try to catch up on photos and details in the next few days.

Also quite bumpy on the descent into DIA. Seems like it's pretty much always rough. I assume the mountains mess up the air, but I don't know. Worse than usual, a couple really good jolts.
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Old 02-18-2018, 08:30 PM   #153
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So I left off near Captain Cook, at the Dragonfly Ranch.

That next day, I started north. Screwed around in Kona enough to find Kona brewing, thinking I'd take a tour, but no availability. Kept heading north, a little way out of town, I saw some people pulled off, investigating the lava field.



It was this pretty cool lava tube which was partially exposed, and partially collapsed, so cave like in some places, open in others.

I went back as far in the first section to where I didn't feel like scrambling.



then went back up and explored some of the open sections



So the weather started out nice, but as I went north, the rain kind of squalled up. Found this nice overlook at the end of the road.



and Koekea Beach a little way down the road



Rolled up to the northernmost point of the island, since I'd been on the southernmost the day before. It's a small airport right on the coast, it turns out.

Then headed up to Waimea. Not very far up the highway, the clouds rolled in, visibility limited. Appeared to be following a ridge going up the mountain through ranchland, but I couldn't see far enough to tell.

Went for a walk around the small town, this is where I got drenched and picked up the cold I currently have. Nothing to really report as far as I can tell, skip Waimea.
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Old 02-18-2018, 08:51 PM   #154
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So the next day, I wake up and go the the Hawaiian Style Cafe in Waimea on the recommendation of the park ranger I'd shared a house with down by Volcano (he's from there). Quite a good breakfast, although I was getting sort throat/not much appetite by then.

Drove over the Saddle Road toward Hilo. I'd heard/read not to take rental cars up there, I can't imagine why. It's a very good paved road, most of the way there are two lanes in both uphill directions to allow for slower vehicles.

Started out drab and cloudy, but got a little break as I rose. Mauna Loa made an appearance.



It wasn't too long a drive over the pass, so I drove around greater Hilo. Hawaii has these great state parks with a small area of a waterfall, or beach, or something, for free or a nominal fee. So first Rainbow Falls



Then up the river to the Boiling Pots.



Then went and explored Kaumana Caves a little bit.



Got checked into the rental, just down the road there was access to a small beach I wandered around. Still not feeling good, still raining, early end to my day.
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Old 02-18-2018, 09:16 PM   #155
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So I wake up in Hilo for my final day. The rental has a shared kitchen area, and they're nice enough to provide eggs and fruit and a few other things for a breakfast, if you want to make it.

Unfortunately, I can't figure out lighting the propane stove to scramble up some eggs. Never could find a lighter, nobody else is up, so I got breakfast elsewhere.

On this day, I decided to explore the SE coast. Once again, crappy rainy day. Went to Lava Tree State Park. When the lava rolls over the trees, it entombs them. But the trees burn up and rot away later, so you get these columns of lava maybe 6-10 feet high which are empty on the inside. A few had fallen over but stayed intact enough, you could imagine the tree trunk fitting right in there.

Anyway, this book I'd gotten recommended a scenic drive down here. Hawaii has a lot of these small roads out in the country which are quite scenic. This canopy went on for a few miles.



Drove down the road to where the lava flow cut off access (the non-park side of the lava flow at the end of Chain of Craters Road). Once again, rainy, feeling down, didn't seem to be much of a reason to hang around there.

Up to Pahoa for lunch, on the way back, the weather broke a little bit. Drove up the coast a little way from Hilo. While waiting at a stoplight, noticed this building on Hilo's main drag



Those are Trump/Pence signs below the windows whose glass is mostly missing, and the street-level storefront is empty. Also there seems to be mold growing down the from top.

Those of you who are politically inclined can make your own joke now.

The coast north of Hilo was really nice. Saw a sign for "Scenic Drive", and took it. It was. Unfortunately, being Saturday afternoon, everybody else was there. Not many places I could find to pull over and take pictures.

A nice four mile long stretch that wound through some forest. Here's a couple places I was able to get out





Continued up to Akaka Falls State Park. A nice little trail, maybe a mile or so long, with a bunch of plants and waterfalls here and there.





Continued up the coast a ways. There were lots of these canyons going back in from the road, or beaches to the east.











Time to head back to town and prepare for the return. Drove around trying to find dinner, finally went to a drive in (they seem to be popular) that I'd noticed the other day. It was terrible.

Went to a bar I'd noticed for one beer on the way out of town. Of course, they had some food, which would've been way better. Seemed to be my kind of place, a divey bar with regulars having some drinks.

On the Hilo-LAX flight, I got in a row with nobody in the middle. Despite the extra room, hardly slept at all. On the LAX-Denver flight I got some more sleep. The descent was rough, ad noted earlier, but the pilots were pros and got us down safely.

Back to suburbia, my neighbor came and got me from the bus, took a little snooze. Early to bed tonight, hopefully this breaks and I can start thinking about where life's going to take me next.
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Old 02-18-2018, 09:36 PM   #156
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So, a little review:

Hawaii's not a retirement place for me. I mostly enjoyed it, despite the weather, but nothing compelling that said, "I should live here". Where there are people, there are way too many packed in. Where there aren't, there's nothing to do. No middle ground.

Unless you're a beach-bro type, skip Waikiki. It's a nice beach and all, but very touristy. One of those things I'd heard about all my life, thought I should check it out.

I did talk to an officer near the beach. I saw Honolulu Police cars all over Oahu, apparently they're the force for the entire island. Totally failed to ask if he knew Dano.

The Pearl Harbor area really well done, worth going to if you have even the slightest interest. The displays in the museum were great.

The big island had lots to do, I just caught a bad break with the storms.

Hawai'l Volcanoes NP worth a couple days.

I really liked all these little state parks and beach accesses. I think I read somewhere that state law says all beaches are public. Not sure if that means sandy beaches for recreation, or might mean even cliff faces, but it seems like nobody truly has oceanfront property--they have property that abuts the public oceanfront.

That was great. I could pull off, watch the surfers/fishers/whatever for a bit, then poke along.

Heard on the news that somebody drowned (or nearly, depending what channel) in Shark's Cove across the street from where I stayed the first night. I didn't see waves like on the surfing posters, but all around the islands, surf was rough enough I'm glad I didn't bring a swimsuit. Just wading is enough for me.

The book I mentioned was from the "Revealed" series. This was recommended to me by an ex-co-worker who goes there a lot. I think there's one for each island here. Well-written, gives hints about things that don't seem common knowledge. Just puts out there things he liked, or didn't like--not trying to sell anyone on any particular thing. I recommend if anybody's going.

Hilo's kind of a dump. Just super meh.

Having been there once, it might be a good idea to check into camping. I'm not sure if these little beach parks allow it (the ones in town close overnight). Seems like most of Hawaii is either a resort complex, or a rental room/house like I mostly had.

Might be a better plan to pack a tent, find a cooler and some food upon arrival, and just camp, if weather allowed. Not that there was anything wrong with the places I stayed, just might be a nice alternative.
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Old 09-01-2018, 12:39 PM   #157
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Another update only because I'm traveling and this is my travel blog. At DIA heading up north for a few days to check on Mom. Probably won't be anything interesting enough to write about while I'm up there, but you never know.
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Old 01-01-2019, 05:51 PM   #158
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Just sitting in MSP waiting for the return flight. Was up north this weekend.

Started out well, had a nice later flight from DEN to MSP. Stayed near the airport and had the good fortune to connect with 2p2 all-star youtalkfunny for a couple beers. Really enjoyed getting to know him a little and trading tales.

Unfortunately, a bad night's sleep. Don't recommend the Crowne Plaza Aire. Paper-thin walls, heater kinda loud, drapes didn't close over the windows (only sheers), so nothing to block the sunrise after a late (for me) evening. Nice bar though.

Met a college friend for breakfast before leaving the Cities, good to see him again. Roads kind rough going up, they'd had ice & snow the day before, but plowed through.

Got up north and two of Mom's church lady friends were there doing to cleaning. Got them to take a little of the clutter they could use, and set about the decluttering project.

Easily filed the recycle can and the garbage can. Monday was able to get around town and take care of some of the business end of the estate, so tat's getting started at least.

Will likely be between a few and several more trips to get the house cleared out enough to get it on the market, so I might be writing more than usual.

Uncle and aunt had me over for dinner a couple nights. They're really great cook/chef/pitmaster/whatever types, I always enjoy going there as well as seeing them.

NYE, a lifelong friend of mine was playing at a local bar, so went for a couple sets. On the way out, somebody said hi...bumped into some of Mom's dog friends from down the block, whom I'd only just met that morning.

Then, went back to a bar in the neighborhood in which I grew up for one before home. Pulled up, and some person walked up to the passenger door as if she was expecting me.

It went like this:

Her: "I'll give you $10 if you'll give me a ride to Susquehanna" (ave)
Me: "That's two blocks away"
Her: "Yeah, but I'm really drunk, and we were doing coke, blah, blah, blah..."
Me. "<sigh>. ok."

So I drive the few blocks over, and she's babbling, and keeps asking if I'm going to snitch. "Who am I going to tell? Also, I don't care about what you do, as long as you're not hurting anyone else."

We get there, and she says that she's got to text someone to open the door. By this time, I've had enough.

"Get out."

She asks again if I'm going to snitch, I tell her to close the door and take off. I assume she made it in, as she didn't walk the four blocks back to the bar, at least while I was there for one.

Weather was pretty terrible the whole time, which didn't help my mood. Pretty much overcast and cold (~5F or less) the whole time. Ugh.

Sun came out on the way down to MSP (of course). Also, the forecast was to get above freezing after I left. Naturally.

On the plus side, we got some things taken care of and started. Even though it will be a somewhat stressful period with shuttling back and forth, we'll get through it.

Overall, I think a positive trip, within the context of what needed to be done.
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Old 01-19-2019, 03:03 PM   #159
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To paraphrase Lloyd Bridges, "I picked the wrong weekend to go up north."

Started off badly last night. Normally, I turn off my phone when I go to bed, but left it on as a backup alarm since I had an early wakeup.

An Amber Alert went out at 11:43 last night, and I never got back to sleep. About 4:40, my neighbor drove me down to the bus stop. On the way, he mentioned that his car said 23 degrees outside.

Pretty sad when the temperature at 4:45 AM is the warmest I'll see for the next week.

Anyway, off to DIA where my headphones (which I'd just bought in Dec) fell out of my bag going through security. Fortunately, someone turned them in, and I was just downstairs when I noticed.

Out to concourse B, got in line at McD's for breakfast behind the guy who was buying for his entire ground crew. Fortunately, not super pressed for time, and cheers to him for being so nice.

Over to the gate, waited in line maybe 10 minutes, off we go.

A little bumpy for a stretch, but a pretty good flight. Get close to ORD, the captain says they only have one runway going, so we have to fly around a little, should be down in 15 minutes. No worries, I have a two hour layover.

20 minutes later, he says we've gotten clearance to land. 20 minutes after that, we start descending.

As we're taxiing, turn on my phone, and get a message from United that my flight to DLH has been cancelled. Oops.

Go to the customer service people, and Mrs. Zhyyin (?) looked around, said the next flight is at 9:30 PM. That's late, but if that's what I need to do...

Only United (from ORD) and Delta (from MSP) go to DLH--it's kind of at the end of the road. I asked her to check into putting me through MSP and transferring to Delta. Sure enough, she got me hooked up.

The plane to MSP hasn't arrived yet, and is already delayed, but (as of now) I have a 3 hour wait in MSP. The weather is gray, but it seems as if it's stopped snowing, so that should work out (assuming the new ORD departure time isn't too far off). Should get up north ~8:30.

Found the gate, didn't see anything interesting for lunch, settled on Chili's. Meh. I guess.

Thinking about it, in my travels, I think this might only be the second time I've had a flight cancelled. So, I think I'm running pretty good. Talked to somebody up north, sounds like there's not much snow up there. So, if I get out of ORD, should get there tonight, just 6 hours late.

The moral of the story: going to Superior is always a bad idea, more so in the winter.

Hopefully I can accomplish the important tasks for this trip, get a realtor and estate sale company hired.
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Old 01-21-2019, 10:23 AM   #160
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Finally got up north the other night. Left my house at 4:45 AM MT, finally got here at 9:30 PM CT. UP to the store quick to get some food in the house. Still wound up from travel, so even though I'm physically tired, went to work on the clutter a little bit.

Got to be around midnight. Since I'm old, up in the middle of the night to use bathroom. In my house, that's roll out of bed, take about 8 steps or so through the sink/shower/tub area.

In the room I'm staying in here, that's where the stairs are.

Fortunately, there's a bend in the stairs, so the wall there broke my fall. A little scraped and bruised up, but no real harm done.

Had quite a few people rummaging around the house yesterday, got some stuff cleared away and claimed for later retrieval. Progress, but slower than I hoped.

Off to run some of the business of the estate, then the realty and estate sales people start coming in to be interviewed this afternoon.
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Old 01-25-2019, 05:35 AM   #161
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Just read through the thread the last few days.
Good stories!
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Old 01-27-2019, 01:01 PM   #162
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Twistedd,

Thanks for the compliment.

So, last week was pretty busy running the business of the estate, and I caught a pretty nasty cold which slowed me down for a while.

Anyway, got RE agents interviewed, had a few estate sale types come over and talked with them. More friends/family/friends of family came in and took stuff away. Donated a ton of stuff to the local "free store", I hope that some people who are in a bad place can get some help through those things.

Reconnected with a childhood friend whom I'd lost contact 30 years ago. Went to dinner, had a very nice time catching up and exchanging contact info to try to better stay in touch.

The plan was to get the van Thursday, pack it up, then head out or go to my aunt & uncle's for dinner and leave Friday morning. Saw the forecast Wednesday for Thursday night: -21, wind chills in the -30 to -40 range.

Called my aunt & uncle: "pretty sure I'm going to just pack up and leave, sorry about missing dinner". They understood, on Thursday did some of the final business of the estate in town, got the van, packed up, went to lunch with my uncle, and got on the road.

Just into Northern Iowa, there's a hotel with a small casino that I came upon about dark, so stayed there. Went downstairs, got on the list, got a beer, walked around a little. Name didn't come up by the time I finished my beer. Really tired from cold + driving, decided just to pack it in.

Miserably cold the next morning, but headed south to Des Moines, where I used to live for quite some time. Since it was Friday late AM, wasn't able to connect with people I know much, but caught one friend who was able to go for coffee and chat a bit. Another wasn't home, but talked on the phone for a few minutes and chatted with her husband, who I've become friends with as well over the years.

Off on I80, things starting to clear and warm up a bit. Took a rest in Western IA. Called my friend in Omaha, his wife wasn't feeling good. Didn't want to take the risk of adding whatever I had to her situation, so didn't stop. Went on the back roads for a while, then stayed in some small town in central NE.

Got in the hotel about dark, which was probably about 6PM, just beat. About 6:30 took some NyQuil, woke up about 6:45 the next morning. Just what I needed, broke a good sweat, a long sleep. Still had some residual congestion and tiredness, but felt I could go.

Plowed across the plains (nothing to see here). Stopped for lunch just outside of metro Denver, got into town, unloaded the van, brought stuff to my brother's. Dropped van at the rental car place in the evening, walked home.

Puttered around with mail, called realtor & emailed estate sale guy we chose to let them know to send out contracts for me to e-sign, hopefully we're in the final stages.

Of course, real estate being the fickle thing it is, and the interior of the house being 1970s era, who knows how fast it will go. I'm relying on the realtor to know the market and price it aggressively.

That will probably be it for my traveling for a while. They say that everything can be handled remotely from here on out.
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