Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Trip to Oahu, Hawaii January 5-11, 2019

Saturday, Jan 5 - I was picked up about 6:30AM by Vancouver Cab.  I checked in with Alaska Airlines at PDX.  The flight left at 9:10AM, arriving Honolulu about 1:40PM.  I sat aisle seat which was a big mistake.   Too much activity.  I watch two films during the flight - "Mamma Mia, Here we go again" and a depressing "Three Identical Strangers".  After retrieving my suitcase, I caught the Shuttle to the Waikiki Resort Hotel, 2460 Koa Avenue.  The hotel is well located in the heart of Waikiki, half block away from Kuhio Beach section.  I checked into my room on the 16th floor at the end of the hall.  I had a view from the balcony of the hills.   I had a Filet-O-Fish and Sr Coke at McDonalds at 3:00PM.  I wandered over to the International Marketplace where I photographed the Don Ho Statue, a sculpture in bronze.   I found a geocache.  I purchased food at Starbucks for an evening meal back at my room.  I purchased a $39.00 hat at Nordstrom Rack for $15.00.  I bought a 6 pack of bottled water at ABC Store.  I returned to my hotel room about 7:00, ate a light dinner and went to bed.

Sunday, Jan 6 - Following a very early breakfast I took Lyft to my Event at the Honolulu Coffee Experience located at the corner of Kalakaua Ave and Kapiolani Blvd.  It was a great location to hold an Event.  There was even a cache in the Coffee Shop.  About 14 cachers attended.  Lee Chung (Cache_Lee) gave me a Turtle Marine Figurine.  Afterwards I had a great time geocaching with Katie (K8Ydd) and Kristie (NativeAirman) part of the day and then Kristie until sunset.  I found 12 caches, and a benchmark (TU0289 TIDAL 14) on top of balustrade of Iolani Palace.  I had a light dinner and went to bed.

Monday, Jan 7 - After breakfast at the hotel I rode TheBus on a 1-Day Pass to the park next to the United States Postal Service on Saratoga Road where I did an Earthcache.  I rode TheBus to the Ala Moana shopping center.   I found a cache in the parking structure.  I had lunch at the terrace at Nordstrom at noon.  I had a cuppa Earl Grey tea at Starbucks at the Ala Moana Hotel.  I wandered over to the Halekulane Hotel where I had a lovely Classic Afternoon Tea on the Veranda at 3:00PM.  I had Earl Grey tea however I should have tried Silver Needle for something out of the ordinary.  Sweet highlights included homemade Kula strawberry preserves and clotted cream to pair with currant scones.  Afterwards I went to the nearby seating area to hear live Hawaiian music.  I chatted awhile with Toshino Uraoka from Japan.  I found a cache while walking to the 1927 Royal Hawaiian.  I checked out the lobby and then found a location to watch the stage show.  Afterwards I wandered over to the Moana Hotel where I wandered through the hotel lobby and then sat for awhile on a rocker on the front porch.  It was getting late so I walked back to the hotel. 

Tuesday, Jan 8 - After breakfast at the hotel I decided to ride TheBus on a $2.00 1-Day Pass entirely around Oahu.  I caught the No. 8 bus on Kuhio Avenue.  I got off at the Ala Moana Shopping Center.  I caught TheBus through central Oahu to the Dole Pineapple Plantation where I found a cache. I had planned to get an ice cream sundae however it was so expensive and I am not that fond of pineapple.   I continued on via TheBus to the scenic North Shore where I had lunch at McDonalds.  I took TheBus along the coast back to the Ala Moana Center.  During the circle bus ride I saw a white heron, white butterflies, roosters, black cats, and hen with baby chicks.  I saw several wind turbines.  I saw the Emerald Princess at the dock at 4:00PM.  I had a light dinner at the Terrace at Nordstrom.  I took TheBus back to Waikiki. 

Wednesday, Jan 9 - After breakfast at the hotel I caught TheBus on a 1-Day Pass to downtown Honolulu.  I visited the 1879 Iolani Palace at 10:30.  The Iolani Palace was the royal residence of the rulers of the Kingdom of Hawaii.  I explored the palace for an hour and half or so.  I learned that the ocean originally came up to the front yard of the palace.  I caught TheBus, stopping at McDonalds about 12:15PM for lunch.  I found a Virtual (Maui Warrior GC6A60 Placed Date: 06/30/2002).  I caught TheBus again to travel to the Bishop Museum about 2:00.  I saw the exhibits for a couple hours.  I caught TheBus back to Waikiki.  I had a light dinner at Starbucks on Kuhuo Avenue.  I wandered back to the hotel along the beach road.

Thursday, Jan 10 - After breakfast at the hotel, I found a cache.  I was picked up by the PCC shuttle about 10:30AM.  The Polynesian Cultural Center is a Polynesian-themed theme park and living museum located in Laie, on the northern shore of Oahu, Hawaii. I got the popular Ali'i Luau Package. I visited a couple villages. The food was great - I had a huge scoop of rainbow sherbet ice cream on fruit during the show by the lake and the food at the Alii Luau was simply delicious.  I had a front row seat at the Luau dinner/performance.  I had fairly good seat for the Evening Show: HA: Breath of Life.  However, by the end of the evening I did not want to hear any more Polynesian music or see any more Polynesian dances for a very long time!   I returned to the hotel via the PCC shuttle about 10:45PM.  It made for a very, very long day.

Friday, Jan 11 - I had an early breakfast at the hotel and packed to return home.  I was picked up by the shuttle at 9:30 AM and taken to the Honolulu International Airport.  I checked my suitcase.  I ate a parfait that I purchased at Starbucks.  The flight left at 12:40PM for Portland.  I watched the film "Ready Player One" directed by Steven Spielberg.  I arrived at PDX about 8:10PM.  I got my suitcase.  I rode MAX light rail/CTran to downtown Vancouver, Washington where my daughter Catherine gave me a lift home.  I had a great time but it was good to be home!

Memorable Presidential Lines

'I am not a crook': Nixon
'I did not have sexual relations with that woman': Clinton
'I never worked for Russia': Trump

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Home Alone

I do not understand.  Trump stated that he was Home Alone on Christmas Eve.  Where was Melania?  Where was his son, Barron?  Where were his other children and their significant others?  The Secret Service?  The White House Staff?  How can you ever be alone in the White House?  Lonely yes, but alone no. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

"Killers of the Flower Moon"

I just finished reading "Killers of the Flower Moon - The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI" by David Grann.  Fascinating book!

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Trip to San Antonio, Texas - November 2018

Thursday, November 22 - I was picked up by Vancouver Cab at 4:50AM.  It had been raining during the night but the rain had stopped.  I checked in at Alaska and went through TSA checkpoint.  I purchased a Day Pass at the Alaska Lounge.  It was a short flight to Seattle at 7:00AM.  Screaming baby!  I did a Virtual Geocache - Flying Fish at Sea-Tac.  I visited the Alaska Lounge.  Flight left at 11:51AM, arriving about 5:46PM.  I took a Super Shuttle ride to Drury Plaza Hotel - San Antonio River Walk.  The hotel is housed within the beautifully restored 1929 Alamo National Bank Building.  I had a Fruit and Cheese Platter for light dinner.  I read "The Devil wore Prada".

Friday, November 23 - I had an early breakfast.  I went back to bed for a couple hours.  I found Easy Riverwalk Cache - my 1st in Texas!  I tried to find the Alamo Red and Green Trolley but it was no longer running so I took a City Sightseeing Double Decker Bus Tour.  I ate Red Beans and Rice for lunch at Pat O'Briens at Alamo Plaza.  I walked back to the hotel.  I had a reserved seat at the Drury Plaza Riverwalk for the Holiday River Parade. 

Saturday, November 24 - I rode Lyft to Halcyon cafe at 1414 S. Alamo Street where I hosted a Geocaching Event from 8:00 to 9:30.  About 18 cachers attended the Event including Shane and Gwen TEAMDW99 who sat beside me during the Holiday River Parade the previous evening.  I had a large mug of hot chocolate.  I got a ride back to the hotel.  I walked over to the Alamo.  I had Filet-O-Fish sandwich and coke for lunch at McDonalds.  I rode the Via Shuttle stopping at the Market Square - El Mercado.  I bought two chocolate chip cookies at the bakery.  After about an hour I rode the Via Shuttle back to the Alamo stop.  I purchased Fruit and Cheese Platter and Shortbread cookies from Starbucks for light dinner.   I found a Virtual - Riverwalk Cache where I saw a wedding across the river and then sat near another wedding by the steps.  Across the river was the Arneson River Theatre.  I watched the Laser show on the facade of the Cathedral from the Drury Hotel's 14th floor. 

Sunday, November 25 - I attended Mass at the San Fernando Cathedral.   I rode Lyft to the San Antonio Museum of Art formerly the 1884 Old Lone Star Brewery.  I had lunch at Tre Trattoria halfway through viewing the exhibits.  I found a nearby cache - Waste of a Good Brewery (GC206FR).  I rode Lyft back to the hotel.  I watched a movie "Fail Safe" on television.  I went to Road Scholar registration, orientation, introductions and San Antonio overview.  Chris and Carol Toda from Hawaii gave us each a macadamias treat.  We departed from the lobby to walk to dinner at Paesano's on the Riverwalk.  I watched the Laser show on the facade of the San Fernando Cathedral from the plaza.

Monday, November 26 - We had early breakfast.  We had a presentation "Gone to Texas" by Professor Allen Lee Hamilton.  The group went on a guided walk.  I took Lyft to the 1859 Menger Hotel with its gorgeous, three-story lobby near Alamo Square.  I took photos of the Fergusons at the Christmas tree that I emailed to them later.  RS group had a lunch buffet at the Menger Hotel.  I had cheesecake and a bit of Bread Pudding for dessert.  We visited the Mission de Valero (The Alamo).  I photographed a benchmark at the Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse.  I saw "Alamo: The Price of Freedom" at the IMAX theater.   I found Remember the Alamo Virtual.   I read "The Gates of the Alamo" by Stephen Harrigan before the trip.  I wandered along the Riverwalk to Joe's Crab Shack.  I got a Corona beer, sat at the front of the cafe and people watched until the RS group showed up for dinner.  We had a private, narrated river barge ride.  I was so cold! 

Tuesday, November 27 - After breakfast we departed the hotel by motorcoach.  We toured part of the San Antonio Mission National Historic District.  I found a Virtual - Dam, Ditch, and Aqueduct.  There was a tree at the dam honoring President John F. Kennedy.  He visited San Antonio in 1963 to dedicate the Aerospace Medical Center at Brooks AFB one day before he was assassinated in Dallas, Texas.  I photographed the Espada Aqueduct.  The aqueduct was part of an extensive system of irrigation ditches called acequias that watered the mission fields.  We visited Mission San Jose with its legendary Rose Window and Mission Concepcion, the best preserved of the missions.  We had lunch at La Margarita in Market Square.  We departed Market Square about 2:00.  We had Tamale making demonstration by cookbook author Diana Barrios.  We had dinner at the Plaza Club - First Bank Tower.  Afterwards I saw the SAGA laser show again at the facade of the San Fernando Cathedral.  I sat next to three guys that were geocachers: ankka07 and puupaa7581 from Finland and their Texan host.  

Wednesday,  November 28 - After breakfast we had a presentation "LBJ - His Life and His Legacy".  We departed the hotel lobby for lunch and a guided walk.  We took bus #51.  We had lunch at Liberty Bar in King William neighborhood.  Terrible lunch.  I left the guided walk to take the 1 1/2 hour guided tour of 1876 Italianate Villa Finale; Museum and Gardens.  I got a ride back to the hotel.  I ate dinner at the hotel and watched "Survivor". 

Thursday, November 29 - After breakfast we departed by motorcoach for LBJ National Historical Park.  We visited the LBJ Ranch that sits in the middle of the Pedernales River.  We stopped at the family cemetery.  We could not visit the interior of the main house.  I watched the film and looked around the gift shop.  I completely forgot to look for geocaches.  We traveled to Fredericksburg.  I had lunch at Auslander Restaurant.  I purchased a Snickers bar at Dooley's 5 and Dime.  I found two geocaches.  We departed by bus to see holiday lights of the Hill Country.  We drove through Johnson City.  We had dinner at Old 300 BBQ in Blanco, Texas.  The trip back to the hotel was miserable.  We had to listen to country music, the film screens were incredibly bright and it was quite late.  Several people had to leave very early in the morning so it must have been frustrating not to get back right after dinner.  I watched the last bit of "Murphy Brown".

Friday, November 30 - I had a late checkout so I slept late.  I packed my suitcases and took them to the front desk to store about noontime.  I took a Lyft to the Madhatters Tea House for Afternoon Tea.  I had three kinds of sandwiches, a scone, petit fours and a pot of hot Earl Grey tea.  I took a Lyft to the Alamo where I got a stamp on my Road Scholar passport and talked with the Ranger about the proposed changes coming to the Alamo site.  I found a geocache along the Riverwalk.  I walked back to the hotel to retrieve my luggage.  I was picked up by Super Shuttle at 4:15PM.  I purchased a fruit parfait and biscotti at Starbucks at the airport.  I boarded the flight to Seattle and then another to Portland, Oregon.  My daughter Catherine picked me up about 1:00AM.  It was a great trip only because I arrived three days earlier so I could do several activities including watching the Holiday River Parade and hosting a Geocaching Event before the RS program began as well as adding activities during the RS program. 

Thursday, November 1, 2018

North to Seattle

I caught the Amtrak train north to Seattle at 8:38AM.  However since Amtrak does not own the rails it has to give way to Burlington Northern who does.  We were supposed to arrive in Seattle at 11:50 NOT 12:30.  I made a mad dash for the city bus, got off at Union and headed downhill to the Downtown Seattle Meet and Greet.  I was there for the last ten minutes or so. 

I had planned to catch the #10 bus up the hill to High Five over Eye Five.  I made a detour to Groundspeak HQ to straighten out a problem with my daughter's Geocaching Account.  I purchased a Lackey Geocoin while I was there.  I caught a #40 bus downtown and then a #10 bus up the hill to get High Five over Eye Five. 

I was like a chicken with my head cut off this afternoon chasing the webcam. I no sooner figured out where the camera was pointing when it changed position.  Finally I figured out that the most noticeable object on the overpass was a very large bright orange sign - Road Closed Ahead. So that was I in the photo in black slacks and a long black coat standing in front of the sign. 

I caught a bus at 9th and Pike downhill to 4th and Pike.  I walked to 2nd where I caught a bus almost to the King Street Station.  Amtrak left at 6:10, arriving Vancouver 20 minutes late at 9:30PM.   

I saw a bald eagle in a tall tree right before we got to Ridgefield.  I saw the World's Largest Egg at Winlock.  I saw the spectacular Narrows Bridge during the daytime and then again at night lit with white lights.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Hood River Valley Harvest Fest

After breakfast I drove to Marshall Community Center two miles from my house.  I went on a Senior Trip to Hood River for the 36th Annual Hood River Valley Fest.  We stopped at McDonalds on the way for a break.  We stopped at a clothing shop in downtown Hood River.  I sat outside on an Adirondack chair with the sun at my back.  

We entered the HRV Fest at 1:00 PM.  I sampled some cheese and had a couple large, delicious dates.  I walked each row of vendors twice.  After an hour I decided that I had been there, done that.  

I walked a few blocks west to find lunch.  I ended up at Ferment Brewing Company at their 2nd floor restaurant at 403 Portway Ave.  I sat at the end of a long table by the window where I could watch the lone windsurfer on the windy Columbia River as well as enjoy the scenery.   I had a delicious FBC Burger and Assam Tea.  No fries.  I sat there for a couple hours enjoying the view and reading an article in a Gorge magazine.  Then it was time to wander back to the van.  

We traveled to Cascade Locks on I-84.  We stopped at a restaurant for dessert.  I sat at one of the tables near the windows and enjoyed the view.  No dessert for me.  Time to cross the Bridge of the Gods and travel west on Washington State Hwy 14.  We arrived in Vancouver about 6:15.  I traveled home.  Very enjoyable day.