Category Archives: travel

hawaii 2012 – scenery

This is one of multiple posts of our trip to Oahu, Hawaii October 20-22, 2012.

There aren’t many photos that I can post that haven’t been taken millions of times by millions of other folks, but these photos are special because they were taken by me and Mike (mostly Mike).

First of all, the view from our room at the Ala Moana Hotel:I was so happy to be back in Hawaii that I didn’t even notice the dark clouds until I saw the photos.

How about some palm trees swaying in the breeze? Here you go…

A rainbow greeted us on our first day there.

And then a little later (drum roll, please)…

A double rainbow!

Now, photos in no particular order.

chinatown ~ los angeles

A few weeks ago we decided to go to Chinatown on the spur of the moment, catch up with Steve and Karina (they rode the train down to L.A. very early that morning) and have lunch with them. It turned out to be a fun few hours shopping and eating.

First stop was Phillipe’s, home of the original French Dip sandwich. We were going to eat there, but the lines were very long and Steve had found a barbecue place that sounded magnificent, so we opted to change our minds and go to Spring Street Smokehouse instead. Good choice. It was wonderful.

Since we had an hour before the Smokehouse opened, we took a stroll through Chinatown first, window shopped and bought cherries.

Karina and I fell in love with the pretty hats in front of almost every store, so she bought one for herself… and one for me! Thanks again, Karina. 🙂

Before we knew it, it was time for lunch, but before we headed over to the Smokehouse we stopped at the double dragon entrance to Chinatown for a couple of photos.

Me and Mike:

and Steve and Karina:

I leave you with one final photo… brother Steve wearing Karina’s hat. Isn’t he just so… so… cute?

aussies, caches & del taco

Last Tuesday, April 24, we headed over to Barstow (an hour and a half drive) to attend a geocaching meet & greet and go to the original Del Taco in Yermo. Also on my to-do list was visiting another Del Taco in Lenwood, just south of Barstow, that is owned by the man who started Del Taco.

The original Del Taco is now Tita’s Burger Den. The original Del Taco sign is intact and I don’t think anything else has changed, either, except the menu.

~ Lookit, Stevie! The original Del Taco! ~

Forty years ago I discovered Del Taco while living in Anaheim, California. The only thing was, the closest Del Taco at that time was in Costa Mesa… 20-30 minutes away. But that never stopped me from grabbing my little brother (that would be Stevie), who was 7 at the time, and heading on over there for a Del Beef Burrito whenever a craving hit.

A few years later we moved to Hawthorne. Now it was a two hour drive.  Of course, that didn’t deter me and Steve from cruising down to Costa Mesa once in a while. It wasn’t long until we had a Del Taco nearby, but it just wasn’t the same.

The original Del Taco owner, after selling the Del Taco chain, decided to open his own Del Taco in Lenwood (above). I was hoping to meet the owner, but he only comes in on weekends. <insert boo-boo face>

After visiting the two Del Tacos, we grabbed a couple of caches, stopped at two post offices and visited a nice NYFD memorial in Barstow before heading over to the meet and greet.

Now, meet our hosts at the Aussie’s on Route 66 (GC3CBTV) meet & greet:

Thanks to Warren, Ralph & Paul (Sol de Lune, Albida33 and Mtrax), geocachers from Australia, we went to to an area we hadn’t been before, met lots of cachers we’d never met and visited with one that came to our event last January. We had a great time.

p.s. We also got a date stamp at the Barstow post office. Yermo closed at 4:30 so that one will have to wait for our next trip to Barstow Las Vegas. If we hadn’t chatted with two nice young men at the Burger Den (the owner’s son and an Army pilot) for so long, we might have gotten to the Yermo post office before it closed.

gifts from thailand & vietnam

We got a package yesterday from Jeff & Vanessa that was full of gifts from Thailand and Vietnam!

I (the dishaholic) got  two beautiful bowls, a blue wooden one made by the Hmong tribe in northern Vietnam and a blue & white ceramic bowl made by a disabled person through the Reaching Out program in Hoi An, Vietnam. The bowl is the second handmade Hmong item that I have. Years ago I bought a little lizard, made by a Hmong woman, that was being sold at the Peace Corps Convention for Returned Volunteers in Chicago. Makes me want to watch Gran Torino again (for the umpteenth time). I saved the notes about the origin of each of my bowls and the newspaper they were wrapped in.

Mike got an elephant t-shirt from the Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai, Thailand, where Jeff & Vanessa have both volunteered.

There were also gifts for Steve, Karina, Leslie and Steven in the package. Steve got a bird-on-a-wire t-shirt, Karina got a purse made by the Hmong tribe, Leslie got a bracelet made by the Hmong tribe and Steven got a Technics t-shirt. It was like Christmas all over again… in January.

And, of course, the stamps on the package were a gift in themselves. I saved them (did anyone think I wouldn’t?), along with the postal receipt.

Then… the box became a new toy for Max.

Looks like Max is checking to see if it’s addressed to him. Later on Alma took a turn poking around the box, but I didn’t get a photo before she wandered off. Happy day for everyone.

I doubt that any package – contents as well as the package itself – has been enjoyed more.

One last thing….

Steve gets into trouble even when he’s in his own house. Don’t know what we’re going to do with him.

postcard from hanoi, vietnam

This is the first postcard we’ve received from Jeff & Vanessa while they’re traveling around Thailand, Vietnam and other Asian countries on their six-month mini-retirement.

cypress lawn cemetery

Cypress Lawn Cemetery is a spectacular cemetery located in Colma, California. Many industrial titans who lived in San Francisco are buried here, along with publishing giants and people who made this area (and the country in some cases) what it is today.

The entrance looks like the entrance to a medieval castle. The back gate continues the medieval theme:

In between these structures is a cemetery filled with monuments, crypts, mausoleums and graves that are so spectacular that very few people could afford them nowadays.

There are very old tombstones, some from as early as the 1800s…

Man’s best friend can be found in this cemetery, apparently waiting for his master.

Photographers use the beautiful, gothic atmosphere for photo shoots.

My favorite crypts are the ones buried in a small hill. The monument is on the top, the crypt is in the hillside.

Colma, known as “the city of the silent,” has 1.5 million residents underground in 17 cemeteries and about 1700 above ground… all in less than two square miles. Colma’s motto: “It’s great to be alive in Colma.”

happy 100th birthday, president reagan

I never had the good fortune to personally take photos of Ronald Reagan, but we’ve visited the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California a few times, and here are some of the photos we took on those visits.

This piece of the Berlin Wall was given to President Reagan by the Berlin Wall Commemorative Group for his dedication to freedom for all.

President Reagan’s final resting place:

Some photos from inside the library…

Lt. Ronald Reagan’s Cavalry uniform & saddle:

This is Nancy & Ronald’s booth from Chasen’s restaurant (it was always reserved for them). He proposed to her while sitting in this booth at Chasen’s.

The Oval Office was duplicated exactly for the Reagan Library.

Happy Birthday, Mr. Reagan!

san francisco

This past Tuesday and Wednesday we took a quick trip to San Franciscoblog - sf fwy sign to have dinner with our son, The Intrepid Traveler, and his wife, The Jersey Girl (also a world traveler). They’re both heading to Thailand for working vacations so we wanted to visit with them before they left.

The dinner, at Bobo’s, was also a combined belated birthday dinner for myself and Mr WS and, as always, it was wonderfThe World Traveler & The Jersey Girlul. Bagels for breakfast the next morning completed our visit. The kids took off for work and we wandered over to the Ferry Building to see if anything was open at 8 in the morning. A farmer’s market full of produce from local farmers was open and I ended up buying heirloom tomatoes, red pears and a jar of capers, all of which are organic. Outside the building we camblog - tomatoes, red pears & caperse upon a (seemingly) friendly seagull. I got within a foot of him, but didn’t press my luck and try to pet him even though I really wanted to. An hour later we were on our way back to the hotel to pack up and heaour seagull friendd home.

The trip home was the usual six hour drive through orchards, cotton fields, a very pungent cattle ranch and lots of barren hills.  A stop for pea soup for lunch was in order, followed by another stop where we fired up the GPS and discovered there was a geocache across the parking lot, so we grabbed it – #297 for us. A couple more stops for leg-stretching and… voila!… we’re back home. It’s always nice to be home.

The Intrepid Traveler left very early this morning for two weeks at Muay Thai training camp and The Jersey Girl leaves Thursday for a week working with rescued elephants. After their separate vacations they’ll spend a week enjoying the lush beauty of Thailand together. All the while Mr WS and I will be waiting for photos and updates about their trip. It’s great to live vicariously through our kids.

And now for some photos of our trip up Interstate 5 to San Francisco.

The Grapevine

gas station at lebec

chp giving ticket

cotton fields

cattle ranch - hold your breath

sf skylilne from bay bridge

sf skyline

sf building

chinatown building

Farm Fresh to You

acton and a geocache

Mike and I took a little ride to Acton to check on our On The Road To Shambala cache and to drop off a new travel bug, Komodo Dragon. The recent Station Fire had come close enough to cause evacuation of Shambala, so we wanted to see what the area looked like and see if the fire had gotten near our cache. Not even close. Everything was fine.

This is the cache site. Shhhh, don’t tell anyone!

acton - cache site

There’s a cache in there somewhere…

mr ws at shambala cache

And here’s the cache with Komodo Dragon ready to start his travels from cache to cache. Happy journey, KD!

komodo dragon tb in shambala cache

Now for a few photos of the more rural part of Acton…

coming into acton

acton area

acton train

hawaii here we come!

We’re off to Hawaii in a couple of hours. Three full days of geocaching, date geocache in hawaiistamping, eating, shopping and maybe even some sleeping. Oh yeah, throw in a couple of those pretty tropical drinks, too. Ahhhh, paradise!

Along the way we’ll be visiting places where I (Kathy) lived in bygone years. The two houses I remember are in Kailua and Honolulu (Navy housing). I fancy drinks in hawaiidon’t know where our quonset hut or the little cottage in Pearl City were located. They’re probably not there anymore anyway. We’ll also cruise by Kailua Intermediate School and Radford High. Maybe even Pearl City Elementary. There are lots of good memories at all of those places. It’ll be a great trip.

saimin - yum our kailua house