Friday, May 12, 2017

So Many Questions

 For May 1-8, 2017
“So how do you get to be a camp ground host and what do you have to do? What do you get out of it”

These questions are asked of both Carl and I several times each week and depending on who the person is, depends on how we answer.

Generally speaking if you want to volunteer for a position, you go to the website, and start looking. The opportunities are broken down by state, agency and position. You’ll find a job description and how to apply. It’s that simple. That takes care of the first question.

The second question is answered by the agency involved. For us, the camp host position in Nebo required the use of a rake, shovel, cleaning supplies and the ability to drive a pickup truck. We were also required to do a small amount of paperwork and handle money to sell firewood and rent campsites to guests without a reservation. There was no schedule to adhere to, no minimum amount of hours one had to work and no one looking over your shoulder at all hours to make sure the work was completed. Our responsibilities at Sherando Lake were similar in nature without the use of the pickup truck or the need to handle money. This was substituted by a lawn which badly needed mowing. Have I ever told you how much fun a zero turn riding mower is to operate? The camp ground at Assateague is similar although you are provided with a schedule. The work week is four five hour shifts with two days off and you get a golf cart to complete your rounds which include traveling to the ranger station to advise them of checkouts, squatters and problems.

It’s that 3rd question that can give one some pause to think. “What do I get out of it?” Volunteerism is nothing new. Citizens have been signing up for two hundred years to protect family and home along with the ideals of democracy we hold dear. As early ( or late ) as the Sixties, President Kennedy and his family created the Peace Corps. The list goes on and on but the key premise is still the same. What you get out of a volunteer position is knowing that you have, in some small way, helped. For those of you out there thinking I’m taking someone’s livelihood from them, it isn‘t the case. Every hour I have given to the state of North Carolina, the George Washington and Jefferson National Forest in Virginia and Assateague Island National Seashore off the coast of Maryland is time doing jobs that otherwise couldn’t or wouldn’t get done because of budget restrictions, cutbacks and layoffs. There is no monetary benefit to me for providing this service. In fact, Carl tells me it costs us more for these three months because we still have expenses at home. True, we are provided a camp site for each month with water, electric and sewerage which is worth several hundred dollars. But, it’s that feeling I get at the end of the day when the supervisor tells us what a great job we’ve been doing or the camper who remarks on how clean everything is in the park. Even when I’m speaking to people who have not been paying attention to the rules, it’s the education of that individual who asks the intelligent questions afterwards and will have a much more enjoyable experience because we are there to explain why that particular rule is so important.

On our volunteer “time sheet”, there is a category for how many visitor interactions you have every day. The higher the number, the better I feel, the more I’ve helped. I think it was said best like this, “Volunteerism is not what you get out of it, it’s what you put into it.”

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Unplugged Somewhere In Virginia

Our modern day lives are inherently bound to the use of technology so when we don’t have it at our fingertips, some people are just plain lost while others are forced to do without and learn or recreate by other means. With a statement like this one, a story is sure to follow.

Our month at Sherando Lake Recreation Area in Lyndhurst, VA is almost at an end. During this month our lives have been centered around the care and cleanliness of the Meadow Loop Campground, consisting of 18 sites and a bathhouse with two showers and two toilets. There is also a family sized bathroom to be used by handicapped or parents with small children.

This responsibility has been a joy to accomplish. There is a beautiful little stream running along the back of the camping sites as well as another stream bisecting part of the lawn area when significant amounts of rain fall. For more than 20 days, this stream has been flowing at full strength. To say we’ve had quite a bit of rain would be an understatement. Our supervisor measure just shy of 4 inches in a 24 hour period.

Our site is situated along the road where we have a southern exposure. Now for most of you out there, southern exposure means lots of sun for all of part of each day.  Not so with my husband. Our site is equipped with water, sewerage and electricity so a southern exposure means he can have excellent satellite reception for his television pleasure. Doesn’t sound like much of a hardship, does it?

There is no cell service at Sherando and it took me the better part of two weeks to stop grabbing my phone to research trivia, check on the weather, look up a word in the dictionary and to ascertain if any messages have come in. I would go through this fruitless exercise several times each day but I eventually learned. For a few campers, being without their “smart phones” has proven too much for them. Some have left the camping area, demanded their money back and even mumbled some less than flattering remarks under their breath about the “primitive conditions” in this part of the country. I question whether the smart phone would help them.  

No cell service, for me, means I can’t check on which movies are playing in Waynesboro, where the Outback Steakhouse is for our next lunch, how to use the word “penultimate” properly in a sentence and also to find out if we should close our awning because we are expecting high winds.

Now, these are most assuredly man made modern day hardships. In truth, my only real issue is being out of touch with my family back home in New Hampshire. I haven’t missed the numerous telemarketers, the phishing spam in my e-mail or the ringing of the telephone at unusual hours.

I do some of my best reading, walking and enjoying of nature during this month. I talk with campers, watch children playing outside in the fresh air and smile when I see a newly arrived flock of Gold Finches feeding on our lawn. It was impressive and “no, I don’t’ have a photo to share because the camera was inside the camper and I didn’t want to frighten them away”. It was awesome to just sit and watch the dozens of brightly colored birds moving about while they feasted on all manor of bugs. I’ve even had time to watch the foliage turn slowly from bud to leaves over the course of the month. At home, with our hectic and electronic lives, you don’t have time or take the time to enjoy those sorts of things.

My electronic fix is grabbed when I go do laundry or have to go into town for groceries. So, while I’m waiting for the clothes to spin, I’ll get this blog entry posted and then go enjoy some more nature. I may even have to mow the lawn this afternoon. I swear I can see it growing after all that rain we had a couple days ago.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Questions, Always With The Questions

When you volunteer to be a campground host, you must be prepared for all sorts of questions. We just hope when these questions are asked, we have the correct answers. We’re always prepared for things like, “ how do I get to campsite #___” or “ how much is firewood”. We’ve even become pretty good at directing people to the Ranger’s Station and to the trailheads in the area. But, the other day, we had a couple of not so routine requests.

On Thursday, a car pulled into the campground parking area. The occupants, 2 adults and a child of about 8 went for a walk towards the lake. When they returned, the mom came to the camper door and asked in a decidedly southern drawl, “Y’all got a pen I could borrah. The boy’s got a splintah” I was ashamed to ask her to repeat her request and eventually figured out she needed some type of sharp pointy thing to dig out said splinter. I handed her my mini sewing kit which included safety pins, common pins and needles. Several minutes later, she returned the kit and wanted to know if I had any peroxide or alcohol. I only had wipes which she had already used. She glanced back at the car where her husband and child waited for her and wondered if I had any Tylenol ’cause she had a whopper of a headache. That I was able to help her with.

A few minutes later the car left the parking area for points unknown and we went back to washing the bathhouse floors.

Just before dark on Friday, a young man approached the camper asking if he could rent a site for the night. We suggested he take a quick peek and choose one and before 10 minutes had passed we were filling out the paperwork for him to stay on site #4. He bought a bundle of firewood and left us, we thought, for the night.

There was a knock on our door about an hour later and I opened it to find Mr. #4 Camper wondering if we could render a bit of first aid. He held a wad of paper towels around one of his fingers. He told us, with no small amount of embarrassment, he had sliced his finger trying to free the firewood from it’s restraints. He added rather tongue in cheek he considered his knife to be pretty sharp.

We invited him in, waited while he washed the affected area and then gave him some more paper towels to dry off the finger. I grabbed my first aid kit  ( thanks, Mom for buying us a first aid kit ) and asked him to sit down at the table. It was then I got a look at the camper’s finger and with that brief glance I realized he needed more medical attention than I felt comfortable giving.

I called the Ranger On Duty, Jamie, who arrived about five minutes later. I won’t list each and every first aid measure taken from that point but I do want to mention Jamie, with his EMT training, did exactly what I was prepared to do. He just has the training certificate which I don’t. I also want to mention my decision to call Jamie could have had future ramifications. Jamie used nitrile gloves and I didn’t even think of it. I’m going to add some gloves to our first aid kit. ( thanks Jamie for suggesting I add gloves to our kit )

The predicted weather has slowed the arrival of reservations. It seems most campers don’t find 20 degree temps with snow as optimal tenting weather. Maybe winter will quit soon and we can continue with spring. I know the daffodils will be happy.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Forecasting Change

The weather changes quickly and often in March. Yesterday, the sky was a deep blue with cotton like billowy clouds lazily floating by. It was about 75 degrees and Carl and I worked up just a bit of a sweat when we walked over to the office. An hour later, the wind picked up substantially, the sky turned a steel gray and off in the distance, an occasional faint rumble of thunder could be heard. Within an hour, the camper was being buffeted with 40 mile per hour winds and we watched as a wide curtain of rain rushed across the lake towards us.  Within moments our parking area had standing water two inches deep.  The storm raged over the next two hours before exhausting itself in the Charlotte area. All we were left with were the high winds which blew all night creating a utilities nightmare in populated areas. Sometime after midnight, the cold front arrived, the winds dropped significantly and we woke this morning to 35 degree temperatures. Tonight, there is a possibility of a hard frost.

This morning, we received our daily report which tells us of expected arrivals, what sites will be occupied, if they owe money, the number of people in their party and it also includes a contact name.

After lunch, we’ll do a walk through to check for downed branches. But right now, I have to confess, the photographer got caught without her camera. Carl spotted a small deer walking slowly across the parking area and my camera was in the truck. Bad on me!      

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Traveling South

Our route south to Nebo, NC covered most of the same roads we traveled last year and because we have traveled these many miles before we approach the roads with an eye towards what had been fixed, changed or improved. It’s not exciting but it does pass the time and is classified as idle chatter in the much grander scheme of communication. So what was different?

 Well, we found the roads to be generally less rough. Many states have large construction projects in the works. Some are clearly in the beginning stages with surveyors bravely measuring and marking while traffic whooshes by at 70 mph which seems to be the legal limit in more and more places. Sadly, we must report Pennsylvania has the dubious distinction of the worst roadside litter. It also appears the least expensive gas was in Virginia while the highest prices at the pumps are now reserved for NY and NJ.

Because of freezing temperatures in NH, the water remained off in the camper during our trip. I found it easier to just eat our meals out while on the road which meant our stops in Cedar Knolls, NJ and Harrisonburg, VA  were anticipated for what they had to offer in the way of food. It was Chinese at both places but we did look for possible alternatives should we find ourselves traveling this way again.

We were told by the Ranger Supervisor they are experiencing drought conditions and the fire danger is borderline extreme. We were both surprised when he told us the park had to be closed for a month while employees spent 16 hours a day fighting a fire nearby.

After setting the camper on the host site at Catawba River Walk In Campground, Carl went about his responsibilities which included getting the water connected, lines flushed and securing the satellite dish on the roof. If it were left to the old style antenna on the roof, we would have 6 channels, 3 of them public education.

This year, unlike last year when the campground was closed for renovations, we will have people oriented responsibilities such as collecting money for firewood and assigning an overnight campsite if someone arrives after the ranger’s station closes. We are required to check sites, clean as needed and to generally be here to answer questions day users of the area might have. We are also in charge of the bathhouse.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Not Like It Used To Be

I’m either getting old or we’ve been to Kauai so many times, it’s become common place. Consider this. When we first came to the Garden Island, we were given directions to our resort. The lady said” Go to the traffic light and turn left, follow the signs for Poipu until you reach the gas station, turn left and travel about 2 ½ miles.

Well, it’s not that way anymore. There are countless gas stations, traffic lights and shopping areas. Hundreds of thousands more people come to sample this little gem in the Pacific bringing with them traffic jams, pollution and the inevitable trash along the roadside. The song says “They paved paradise and put up a parking lot” and that’s just what they’ve done in a manor of speaking.

Anyway, the northern end of the road is a mere 30 miles from where we are staying and the beach there is a beauty, photographically speaking. So, we picked a day that was sunny but with a high surf warning on the north shore. After two hours of red lights and slow lanes, we were still only about half way. At this rate, with the narrow roads and one lane bridges ahead of us, we wouldn’t return home until well after dark. It was at this point I suggested we head back to the unit.

On the right was an interesting looking Botanical Garden, named Na Aina Kai so we decided to stop. We were greeted but then told unless we had a reservation for a tour there would be no way to view the grounds. They gave tours Tuesday through Thursday and the tours were full for this week. We wandered through the gift shop, beautiful in it’s own way and then left through a lovely courtyard manicured with all sorts of flowering plants and lush greenery. If that was a sample of what we missed, we missed something truly beautiful. So I mentally added this stop for another visit to the rapidly crowding island.

Tomorrow Carl will be going fishing even though he’s come down with a cold while I pack the suitcases. After lunch we’ll be moving from Lihue, near the Cruise Ship Harbor, to the south side of the island and our time share unit we own at Lawaii Beach Resort.

On Monday, we’ll be headed out on a snorkel / sightseeing trip to an island called Niihau, which is privately owned and only native Hawaiians and their invited guests are allowed there. It’s called the forbidden island and that makes it all the more desirable to go there. The reefs are pristine and the snorkeling and fishing is said to be second to none. We’ll spend the day watching for whales, taking photos of Na Pali coastline and avoiding a sunburn during the 7 hour trip.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Wow Just Sums It Up

One of the top 5 items on my bucket list was to see red hot lava running in some shape or form during one of our trips to Hawaii. We were so close in 2008. We drove the Chain of Craters Road, walked in to the furthest point allowed and stood there peering into the distance for some hint, a glimpse of red to indicate there was lava flowing. If there was, we never saw it and returned to the car with our hopes dashed.

Pele didn’t wait long to show off her colorful display to the world. The plane was on the taxiway when the announcement came from the cockpit about an eruption in the Kilauea Caldera. I looked at Carl and he at me, just shaking our heads. Just our luck.

Fast forward 8 years and you can well imagine my excitement when Carl returned from the lobby a few days ago with the news of another collapse of the partially cooled lava bench. You may remember hearing of a 26 acre piece of new real estate collapsing into the ocean on New Year’s Day moments after Park Officials convinced people to move from the area. Now, a steady stream of lava called a fire hose, by the media, had begun to flow. The most in years one reporter claimed. From the moment I saw the video, with mouth agape, I knew what I had to do. Web search for lava boat tours coming up and then 15 minutes later, I was booked on Lava Ocean Tours for Saturday, the 4th at 4:00.

On Thursday, the media talked about the geologists who narrowly escaped injury or death while trying to set up cameras to monitor the formation of other cracks.  Those cameras captured footage of the latest bench collapse and at that moment, it was believed the lava had all but stopped flowing. Just my luck again. It was as if Pele was torturing me for some slight. I even thought about buying a nip of rum as an offering. My religious beliefs frown on that sort of thing but, hey, when in Rome… right?

Cut to Saturday, the 4th, at 4:00 PM. Captain Shawn arrived to call the roll, give a mandatory Coast Guard briefing and to explain how the trip would go. He also called all 60 + aged people together, gave them a warning about back, neck and leg injuries before allowing us to board.

The boat, situated on it’s trailer measured over 40 feet long and it was 10 feet to the gate in the railing. All of us boarded by way of a 10 foot step ladder while the boat was still on the trailer in the parking lot. The crew of 40 did a once around the park and arrived at the boat launch with a fair number of spectators lining the shore to watch as the truck backed us down into the narrow harbor.

And then we were off,  running parallel with the shore line and fairly skimming over the waves, each of us strangers wrapped up in our thoughts. Questions plagued all of us. Would the boat ride be too rough, how wet would we get, will the electronic equipment be safe, would we really get a chance to view one of natures most spectacular shows?

45 minutes into the trip, we began to see steam ushering forth from the ocean’s surface. 10 minutes after that, we saw a red glow through the clouds of moisture and then we began to feel the heat from 200 feet away.

And then we were there no more than 50 feet from the almost surrealistic site. A  glowing fire fall of 2100 degree molten lava endlessly cascading from the miniscule appearing vent, a pipeline the Hawaiians would say came straight from the goddess herself.

All of us, as if we were one, began snapping photos with cameras, recording various lengths of video to try to show those who were not there just what it was like at the bottom of the ever changing stream. At times, the flow would be bright orange and full as it cascaded into the ocean while at other times, the white hot ribbon narrowed and as the gases within mixed with the overly warm sea water, it sent ejecta outward, sometimes the height of the falls.

It took some effort for me to stop taking photographs with both my cell phone camera and my Nikon D200 but I forced myself to sit quietly and just watch. Every once in a while I would hear myself say, “wow!” That was about the only word that came to mind. And still is.

I sat for hours afterwards, studying each and every image,
watching the videos over and over with that very same word
 coming to mind. We were back at the harbor about 7:00,
 home by 8:00, but unable to sleep until almost midnight.
Even now, I have to pinch myself and say, “that was real
and I was there first hand. Wow!”  

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Tidbits And Trivia

Europeans brought sugar cane production to Maui in the early 1800’s but due to economic reasons, plantations have been closing in recent years. Hawaii’s Commercial & Sugar was the last company to produce sugar in the islands. Sadly, it too closed in December of 2016. Diversified agriculture will take its place.

Maui pineapple industry started in 1890 and that too has been phased out over the years. The mainland receives pineapple from South America at a lower cost.

From the beach across from our resort you can see the island of Lana’i just 8.8 miles away and the island of Moloka’i a mere 8 miles away. On a clear day you can also see the island of Hawaii ( the big island ) 32 miles away.

Ka’anapali is the first master planned resort in the United States. The first hotel opened in 1960.

Lahaina was the original capital of Hawaii. It was moved to Honolulu in 1845. A major fire in 1919 destroyed most of Front Street. The fire was started when Bubonic Plague was discovered amongst the Chinese section of town and it quickly got out of hand.

There is only one tunnel on Maui. It was deemed to be too environmentally destructive to blast the mountainside away so the construction of Rte 30 went through instead.

These are some of the fun facts we’ve learned this week. Today we visited the aquarium I mentioned and then took a sunset dinner cruise on the Quicksilver out of Maaleaa Harbor. The sunset was a flop, the meal was only so so, the crew was great and we saw whales.

After the cruise, we headed home to pack. Our time on Maui is up and we head to Hilo tomorrow to stay at the Kilauea Military Camp inside Volcanoes National Park.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

The Road to Hanna Once More

Today, we decided the weather looked pretty good so after lunch, we headed over Route 36 towards Hana. This time, with Carl at the wheel, we were able to stop several times to take photos.

Some of the photos are of the bridges, most of them built between 1910 and 1920 while others are of interesting trees and foliage. But the real reason we traveled the fifteen miles to Ke’anae Point was the waves. On Sunday, the surf was roiling and crashing on the huge chunks of lava piled up in the bay. Sadly, the rain kept me from really being able to enjoy the scenery.

Today, thanks to three days of high winds, the waves were much higher. Much more dramatic and my only complaint, photographs do not show the power and magnitude of what God produced before my eyes. Even a video pales in comparison to what was before me. We saw evidence of much stronger surf and erosion as much as 15 feet from the shoreline. The power of water is sadly ignored. It can move mountains, wash away buildings and erase roads. The Hawaiians have a piece of information for us tourists, “Never turn your back to a wave”. It’s a valuable piece of advice.

There was one other piece of information passed to us by Tom, the driver. He told us there was only one snake on Maui to be concerned about, the Maui Black Arrowhead. It wasn't long before we spotted one.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Around The Head

If you look at a map of Maui, you might imagine the profile of a woman laying face down. So following that mindset, we traveled the head today. In more plain terms we drove Route 30 from our resort heading north to Kapalua and beyond. The driving guide handed out by the rental companies states “ The road around the north side of Maui is desolate, but ruggedly picturesque. It also has a very narrow section of road with a sheer cliff and no guard rail before you reach Kahakuloa when driving from Kapalua. “Drive at your own risk.” They weren’t kidding. In fact, after driving the road, Carl thinks it may have been worse than the road to Hana. It wasn’t as rough but it was even more narrow in many places.

Once we left the hustle and bustle of Lahaina and Kahana, we followed the rugged coast line finding numerous spots where the locals congregate for surfing. We stopped at a few of these places and watched as each took their shot at riding the 5-6 foot rollers. I have never attempted this sport. To me, it’s crazy dangerous and way too easy to get pounded by breaking waves or slammed into the sea floor. I understand it’s even common to reach the surface only to be pushed back down again. Competent surfers drown each year but not today.

Along this drive, even the beaches eventually disappear and all you are left with is the intense concentration it takes to maneuver the narrow twisted road. It’s all paved but that’s all the good I can say about the road. Would I recommend you drive it? I have to refer you to the driving guide handed out by the rental car operators.

The tiny village of Kahakuloa is nestled in a narrow valley literally in the middle of no where. From a high vantage point, we can count no more than 10 houses and 2 churches. One of these churches may fall down during the next big wind. We see utility poles and electric lines snaking their way up on rugged hill and down the other side so we assume that most homes have electricity. We see a few houses with solar panels on the roof but what is most prevalent  are the satellite dishes.

Carl has been keeping an eye out for an interesting food truck and finally found a small collection on the side of the road about 20 miles from our resort. We settled on the shrimp truck although I was glad they offered a steak plate in addition to the seven or eight shrimp offerings. Both of us enjoyed the food but just like everything else on the island, two plates of food was $27.00. No drinks.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Now, I'm A "Groupie"

No travel scheduled today so we lounged about until Happy Hour at the Beach House across the street. $5.00 well drinks, $3.00 beer and a selected bar menu of munchies. We each had a Pina Colada while I munched on three burger sliders and Carl had a hot dog and fries.

The bus to the Elvis tribute picked us up at 6:30 with “Elvis” himself, Darren Lee on board to greet us. He indulged us by answering a few questions, explained a bit about the show we would soon experience and spent a few minutes talking about how he came to be Elvis. We also found out his father looked the part but couldn’t sing while his brother was playing the part in Canada.

When we arrived at the Theater, Darren escorted us through the side door where we could wait while he went back stage to transform himself into the King. Our seats in the second row, center stage were awesome. While “Elvis” sang Teddy Bear, he tossed a stuffed bear to one of the ladies on our bus and during his rendition of the Hawaiian Wedding Song, another lucky lady from our bus was on stage with him holding his microphone. Afterwards, he presented her with a frangipani lei from around his own neck.

Towards the end of the show, Darren came off stage and shook hand with everyone in the VIP section and several others in the audience. All told, Darren sang 31 of Presley’s songs, made 11 wardrobe changes and told us little bits of trivia about Elvis and the 3 visits he made to Hawaii during his career. And when it was all over, Darren came off stage, sat down among us and asked if there were other songs he might sing for us while playing his acoustic guitar, answered questions about his life and what his plans for the future might hold. One of the cast members handed out Cds which Darren signed for all of us. And then our VIP night was over. The bus returned us to Kahana Falls, each of us quietly humming our favorite tune.  Carl was able to fall asleep immediately. It took me a bit longer.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

The Road To Hana

Yesterday, we enjoyed a continental breakfast during a brief orientation on the resort. It was meant to inform us on where to find necessities but it also described multiple activities designed to keep us entertained as well as separated from our money. After much deliberation, also known as salesperson’s pressure, we settled on a sunset dinner cruise after winning one ticket, a night out at an Elvis tribute called Burn’n Love, and an all day guided trip to Hana provided by Valley Isle Excursions in a 12 person van complete with driver/guide and stand up comic.

Normally we would pack a lunch, bathing suits and camera equipment and head to the car but this road is very different. It contains more than 600 wicked curves and fifty six one lane bridges. Each twist in the road so narrow vehicles need to be aware of the last or next place which might provide safety while allowing traffic to get by. Our driver, Tom, filled us in on all things Maui, enlightening us with such useless trivia as the Hawaiian word for beef which is Pi Pi (pronounced pee pee). He continued by adding Chinese appetizers are called Pu Pu which we had all heard of. What we didn’t know is that you will never hear of Pi Pi Pu Pus. I mean it just isn’t done and no one would have it anyway. Oh, yes, and the number of residents in Maui county which is 144,000.

It was raining hard when Tom picked us up at the hotel and it continued for most of the morning. Remembering that water and electronics should never mix, I was just plain miserable. I don’t mind getting drenched but I had to protect the camera. There were so many places where I would have loved to jump out, grab a few shots and continue on our way. But let’s face it, the schedule or the road just couldn’t accommodate 12 people piling out of the bus every few minutes. Carl assured me he won’t mind driving part of this road on another dryer sunnier day. We had a lovely lunch at Verge’s Flower Farm and then we were off once more only this time the sun played peek a boo with us until finally burning off the clouds and brightening the rest of the day for us.

With more than 100 miles behind us, the terrain changed from rain forest to tundra and just as quickly even that low grassy scrub turned into desert conditions. We finished our tour on the dry side of the island  after being shown the youngest lava flow on Maui. 800 years seems like a long time but lava is tough. Wind and rain must begin the breaking down process before seeds can take hold. It must survive  long enough to put down roots. Our last stop was at a farm stand selling Macadamia Flower Honey and Maui coffee which they wisely offered samples. And then it was all over. We were returned to our resort none the worse for wear with a small honey bear in tow. The camera survived. I dried out and we have lots of memories.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Arrival In Paradise

The first day anywhere new is always fun for me, not so much for my husband. I grab hold of the map, look out the window at the new scenery and wish we had time to stop for little photo ops along the way. My husband, on the other hand, must climb into a strange car and travel unfamiliar streets until we reach our destination, skillfully maneuvering traffic congestion which we later found out locals refer to as “whale jams” . When it’s time, regardless of how many hours we’ve been traveling, how many times zones we’ve crossed or how little sleep we might have gotten on the plane, he must be alert from that moment until we arrive at our home for that week. And he always does a great job no matter how often I wished I could yell “pull over” at a moment’s notice.

Our resort is not much more than a hotel room so the next order of business will be to find a grocery store. Safeway, we are told is the best option back in Lahaina. Having been to Hawaii several times, we have a really good idea of what kind of prices we are about to face. Or we think we are because when I reach for a 6 oz. Package of Driscoll’s Raspberries I immediately think a bit longer. The price is $4.99 here for the same amount back home of $2.99. Two Gala apples set us back $3.59 and a 12 pack of Coca Cola Zero is $7.99 instead of the usual $3.49 or even the sale price of $2.50. Breakfast for two days, lunch for three and one supper was $67.43. If it isn’t grown here, it must come in by container ship or plane.

No photos today. I’m still tired from the flight. I’m not as young as I used to be.