Thursday, October 18, 2012

Palm trees and rainbows in the water

Aloha my friends!  A quick update this morning before I head out to the beach.  I'm on Oahu, reconnecting with cousins and exploring an new island (and spending an unfortunate amount of time in terrible traffic in Honolulu, there's only one main road artery and there's no escape).  I have two photos to share this morning which sum up my last few days.

Yesterday I went to the USS Arizona memorial at Pearl Harbor.  I've flown over it many times, and have always wanted to go see it and learn more about this chapter of history.  My aunt grew up in Honolulu, and has a pretty powerful tale to tell about living through this attack and subsequent wartime life.  She was on the Arizona the night before the attacks for a band concert.  The memorial is sobering and respectful, I'm so glad I went.  The Arizona holds 1,177 sailors who died in the attack, can you imagine?  The ship is still leaking a little bit of oil to the surface, which makes a constantly-changing rainbow slick called the "Tears of the Arizona."

I also had some beach time yesterday, and time to explore the island a bit.  Here's a classic view of the island known as Chinaman's Hat, on the east side. 

A friend of mine is apparently quoted as wondering whether I'm coming back, because I keep going farther and farther away, and to nicer and nicer places....

Friday, October 5, 2012

Go west, young woman! Part II

Time for another photo essay on the Great Trip West.  I'm writing to you from the comfort of my brother's pub, the Brewers' Union Local 180 in Oakridge OR, and I'm happy to say that my shiny red car has gotten me this far comfortably, safely and stylishly.  I have a few more photos to share today of the second week of the drive WEST, just a brief taste of the many small adventures and long empty roads between Colorado and here.

When we left Durango, the first stop was one of my long-time dreams...Mesa Verde National Park.  Whoa, this was as cool as I had expected.  I love thinking about what it must have been like to live in these cliff houses.
 Then off to the Four Corners, through some of the craziest open country I've ever had the pleasure of dropping my jaw over.  It was so big and open and weird that there was no way I could take photos of it.  We chased rainstorms through the desert all the way to the fine little town of Bluff, Utah, where we scored the last hotel room for miles.  The next morning the clouds and storms were still present, and made the drive through the Valley of the Gods moody and exhilarating.  I almost cried, this was so cool.
Then off through the desert until a welcome oasis: Zion National Park.  We planned two night here, to allow a day of exploring the canyon and resting up.  Zion was particularly nice because the HUGE red rocks (we've seen a lot of big red rocks in the last week) was balanced by the coolness and shade offered by the Virgin River.  Really a beautiful place.
After this, Liz and I blasted through Las Vegas (seedy and abandoned on a Thursday morning), through the desert by Area 51 where we saw a disappointing lack of aliens, and on through the evening to get her home to Nevada City.  That was a long long long drive, and it's frankly a bit of a blur although I do recall seeing Mono Lake.  Nevada City was a welcome break, and a beautiful little mountain town with charm and history and a perfect climate and I confess to fantasizing about moving there.

Then I ventured out on my own for a few days.  Had another dream-come-true by visiting Donner Pass, where I ate a twix bar.  Here a photo of the pass from Donner Lake, you can see why those poor souls with their wagon trains in the snow were unable to get over that wall of rock.
 A little time exploring Tahoe and Reno and generally enjoying the Sierra Nevadas, and then I drove and drove and drove because I decided I wanted to camp on the coast and say I had driven all the way to the Pacific.  This was a success, got the last campsite, and had a leisurely drive up the 101 and then over to Oakridge.
More soon!