Leaving Maui

With Hurricane Lane bearing down on the Hawaiian Islands people are in a panic. The airport is completely congested and it is really quite comical to watch people as they scurry about. One guy came flying through dragging two big carry on bags knocking everything and everyone in site. The most comical event of all though was Col and I standing in line for half an hour only to discover that our boarding passes were pre-approved. We could have gone directly in. Another lesson learned, check your boarding pass carefully. Aloha….

Trip to Lahaina

Col and I went for a drive to Lahaina which is about forty minutes north of Kihei.  We found the restaurant where we had our Bloody Marys a few years ago.  Not sure what was so great about them back then.  Hmmmm……..  I think I would rather have had a Caesar.   Anyway, after a breakfast of Bloody Marys we took a walk along the pier and ended up going for a ride on a boat that has glass windows that are below the water.  It made for some interesting scenery and we also were able to see quite a few dolphins which apparently is quite rare.  They may have moved closer to the shore due to the hurricane which is scheduled to hit the Hawaiian Islands in the next couple of days.  It might be interesting trying to get to Australia!  One of the pictures I have included is of a Banyan tree that is in Lahaina.  The picture will not do it justice, but it is really quite incredible.  It spreads out to almost half a city block.DCIM100GOPROGOPR0190.JPGDCIM100GOPROGOPR0195.JPG

Error
This video doesn’t exist
Error
This video doesn’t exist
Error
This video doesn’t exist
Error
This video doesn’t exist

Just a few pictures from Maui.  Louise and Rick have been awesome hosts while we are in Kihei.  If you are ever planning a trip to Maui please look them up, you will not be disappointed.  The link is listed below.   We are planning a trip to Lahaina tomorrow in hopes of tracking down the world famous Bloody Mary that we had on our previous trip.

https;//www.airbnb.com/rooms/13451570?location=Kihei%2C%20HI%20United%20States&s=CrFjK 18

 

Error
This video doesn’t exist

Day 1 – Hawaii

Aloha from Maui!!  As I sit out on Louis and Rick’s balcony and listen to the early morning sounds of the day – birds chirping, people heading to work, the waves breaking against the shore, I cannot help but think that I have arrived in paradise. The trees across the street are full of white and pink blossoms. (Leah, I need you here to capture these colours!!). The palm trees are standing tall and erect. The sky is blue with only a wisp of clouds. The temperature is perfect. This will change as the day progresses. When we arrived yesterday at noon, we found the heat quite oppressing. Hot and humid.

Our flight out of San Francisco was completely without drama or incident. We flew with Hawaiian Airlines which I would recommend to everyone – wonderful staff, great service, good food (yes, they actually supplied us with a lunch!!) and a great entertainment system. The 5 and half hours went by quickly.

Louise picked us up at the airport and for those of you that do not know, Louise is Richard’s sister. She and her husband Rick have lived in Maui for about 7 years now. Just over the last couple of years, they have set up an Air BNB. They have done an awesome job. They have remodelled their beautiful condo and it is perfectly laid out to host vacationers and business people alike. They set up their master bedroom as the host suite and it is perfect in every way. They are across the street from the beach, and have a pool and hot tub for use on the condo property. If you ever have a chance to come to Maui, I would definitely recommend that you stay with them.

We have no plans for our time here in Maui – just some R&R  on the beach, some more travel planning and of course visiting with Louise and Rick. Pictures will tell our story here so I think that Richard will post a few things here and there.

Until the next time, Aloha (which means hello and goodbye)

Day 5 – Final Day in San Francisco

Error
This video doesn’t exist
Error
This video doesn’t exist
Error
This video doesn’t exist

As the title suggests, this is the last day here in the City by the Bay. Though we started out a bit slow, we finally got under way about 11 am. Marie filled us up with another nutritious and delicious breakfast before we headed out. She has certainly set the bar high!!

Our first stop was the Painted Ladies. For those of you that remember, these were the houses that were shown every week on Full House. We sat up the hill in the beautiful park across the street and took a number of pictures. I believe that Richard is adding some video coverage on the blog. He mistakenly calls the park Alamo Park. It is actually called Alamo Square for those perfectionists in the crowd. Though the actual houses were a bit of a disappointment, the park and the surrounding Victorian homes were lovely.

We thought that we would finally cash in on our cable car ride that we missed yesterday. However, when we got to the departure area, the lineup was even longer than the day before!!! So, we just started walking – up the hill in a northerly direction. When we got to the top – many huffs and puffs later – we noticed a sign that said “Chinatown – 2 blocks east”. Hey, that’s where we wanted to go. Now we went all the way down the hill and as promised, there was Chinatown. Lots of markets, lots of people, and no signs in English! We just kept walking and ended up in Little Italy. We knew it existed in the city but did not realize that it was right next door to Chinatown. We found a little outdoor cafe where we had a glass of wine and shared a pizza. Ah, heaven!!

Once done our lunch, we kept on walking – this time north west. We hit Lombard street and started back up the hill. At this point we came across the crooked little street which is literally one zigzag block up the hill. We kept on walking up the hill, taking some pictures along the way. Once we got to the top, we were right at a cable car stop. This time we got lucky and were able to get on a car without waiting for hours in line. That was a hoot – hanging off the cable car like a movie star!!

Once back at the point where we had started only a few hours earlier, we decided that we were done with San Fran and headed back to our temporary home. Laundry and packing and early to bed for an early flight tomorrow.

Off to Hawaii!!!

 

Day Four

 

 

Error
This video doesn’t exist

I know that at some point I will lose track of days but for the time being, I will continue to number them.

Today was a fairly busy day. After a huge breakfast of eggs, ham, yogurt, lovely fresh fruit, croissants and a toasted English muffin (all courtesy of our hostess Marie), we called an Uber and headed back to Fisherman’s Wharf. There we got on a tour bus and headed for Muir Woods. This is a national monument (park) that was set up in the early 1900’s to preserve the Sequoia Redwoods a few miles north of San Francisco. The bus trip itself was great in that we had George, our awesome tour guide fill our heads with many amazing facts about the area and its history. And the park was fantastic!! The trees were so very tall and straight. We walked for about an hour and half, took pictures and videos with our Go Pro and just enjoyed the beautiful day. It was funny in that when we drove across the Golden Gate bridge, San Francisco was cool, rainy and foggy. However, the park was sunny and warm and we found that we were able to take off our jackets and walk in a t-shirt.

Our tour was about four hours and once back at the Wharf we had a bite to eat and then went to check on the sea lions. Staff counted 202 lions today. They were doing pretty much the same as yesterday, playing and sleeping. Quite the life….

Our tour package included an hour cruise around the harbour so because it had cleared up during the latter part of the day, we decided to take the cruise. While waiting for the cruise to begin we met a young lady, Anastasia, from the Ukraine. She had just moved to San Francisco (as in last Friday!!) and has already found two jobs and a place to live. We spoke with her at length and took selfies once on the boat. We left her at the Pier on our return, wishing her the best of luck for her future. I think that she is well on her way!! Oh right, the cruise was good too!!

We bought tickets for a cable car ride but decided that the line was much too long, so called an Uber and came back to the BNB for the evening.  We should be able to use our tickets tomorrow so plan to check out a couple more attractions and then call San Fran a wrap. We fly to Hawaii on Thursday.

As I listen to my hubby snoring softly beside me, I thank God again for all the many blessings in my life. Though I am sure that there will be a few days that will not be nearly as pleasant as this one, I only have to remember that life is a journey and not the destination.

Hope that everyone back home is doing well. We love you and miss you all.

Day Three

Error
This video doesn’t exist

After I did some writing yesterday, Richard and I continued to stare out the train window. The sites continued to entertain us though probably not to the point of being blog-worthy. We went to dinner and then made up our small beds in our roomette. They may have been small but they were much better than the alternative which was sleeping in a train seat in the coach car. I actually had a fairly decent sleep even though Richard’s alarm went off at 4 AM. I guess he forgot to shut it off from the day before! He toddled off to the observation car to watch the sun rise and I rolled over for another couple of hours of sleep!!

Our train dropped us off at Emeryville at about 8:30. We took a bus into San Francisco via the Bay Street bridge. Now that’s a bridge!! 4.5 miles long!! We definitely looked like tourists as we were oohing and aahing out the bus window! As we had some time to kill before we got into our BNB we went to Pier 39 aka Fisherman’s Wharf. Our first stop was the sea lions – 92 were counted lying on the docks this morning. Some were sleeping and some were playing/fighting and throwing each other off the dock into the water. It kept us amused for some time. We wandered around Pier seeing the shops, had some coffee and went for lunch.

We took our first Uber ever to our BNB. I chose the ride pool option as it was the cheapest and we were in no rush. What a great service!! We picked up and dropped off two other people at two seperate locations along the route. It gave us a chance to see more of the city while saving a few bucks. We feel that we will probably use Uber for much of our time in San Fran.

I would be remiss if I did not mention the people that we have met so far on our journey. In the dining car on the train, you are seated with other people to conserve space and time. At all three meals we met wonderful couples. Yesterday’s lunch was with Connie and Bob from Freeport, CA. They gave us many tips on what to see and do while in the Bay area. Supper was with Ro and Andy from Denver, CO. They were fun loving and we had a very lovely evening with them. Andy used to live in LA so he regaled us with tales of his youth in the big city and what would be great places for us to see. They had also been to Tanzania, Africa on a mission trip which of course was super interesting to us. Breakfast was spent with Jenni and Graham from Australia. Now how lucky can we get!?! They offered a few suggestion on what to see while there but thought that our itinerary looked pretty full already. They even gave us their email address in case we had any other questions. It is people like all of the above that make it so memorable.

As I finish up this post, Richard is looking up places to eat and people to meet before the day is over. Can’t wait for the rest of the adventure to roll out!!

 

Day Two

IMG_1550IMG_1552IMG_1548

Error
This video doesn’t exist

So, we’re on the train to San Francisco. Unfortunately, there is no WIFI so this post will happen once we are already in San Fran. Regardless, a few things to update you all on before I completely forget them.

 

We left Hinton yesterday morning at about 7:45. Hilary, Dane and Norah drove us to the airport in Edmonton to catch our  flight to Vancouver. After we checked in Richard realized that he forgot his knee brace in the car. Now, anyone that knows our situation, knows that we are really going to be messed up if he does not have his knee brace. Thankfully, the kids had stopped at Tim Horton’s on the way out of the airport so they were able to return with the knee brace. Whew!!  During all of this kuffuffle, Richard’s water bottle got lost. Down one water bottle and we are not even out of the gate!! Uneventful flight to Vancouver. We had a few hours to kill until we could get into our Air BNB so decided to go to Granville Island. Took the Skytrain and a bus and managed to find our way there. Beautiful spot!! Took a water taxi to the Olympic Village which was conveniently close to our BNB. Walked the rest of the way there.

 

Now the walk was only about 20 minutes but with backpacks that seem to weigh 100 lbs after an afternoon of carrying them around, we were very happy to find the BNB and put our feet up.

 

Just a word about BNB’s in general. For most of this adventure, we have opted to use Air BNB for our accomodation. We used one last year when we went to New York and it worked out well. The price is comparable (or better) than a hostel and you usually have more privacy as well. If you are doing any travelling, and enjoy interacting with people, I would recommend this option.  

 

We caught a bus this morning at 5:30 that took us over the border and to the train station in Seattle. And now, here we are on the Amtrak train to San Fran. As we will be on the train for almost 24 hours, we decided to upgrade and get a sleeper car (aka roomette). This has proven to be a very nice option. The seats are comfortable, we get to make up beds for the night and best of all, our meals are free!!!!!

 

We have never been on a train before but are finding it very pleasant. It is interesting to see the different vegetation as we move south. Washington has very large evergreen trees which seem to be everywhere. Oregon has more agriculture (though on a much smaller scale than Manitoba) and sand like soil. It appears that most of the harvest has been done though there are many corn fields that are no further along than in Manitoba. Maybe, a second crop? With no WIFI, I find that I am writing my self notes of things to look up later. Like, what is significance of Mt. Vernon, Washington? Who settled Vancouver, Washington? How big is Portland, Oregon? How did Salem, Oregon get its name? What movie was Eugene, Oregon featured in?

 

And our funny story for the day –  we are now down another two water bottles – making three in total. It turns out that my last minute switch in water bottles was not successful as the lid kept coming off. After dropping a full bottle twice, I decided that it was ready for the trash. Bottle number two – gone. So, I bought us each a couple of 1 L plastic bottles at the bus station this morning with the plan to refill them until we get to someplace that we can buy a couple more permanent ones. However, Richard’s bottle rolled off the bus seat in Seattle all the way to the front. One of the passengers picked it up and put it in his backpack. So, bottle number three….gone. Sigh.

And Away We Go

7:30 AM August 11 and it looks like it’s really going to happen. With all the preparation and planning I feel we are still not ready, but would we ever feel totally prepared? Probably not, so here we go, each with backpack that is supposed to sustain us for ten months. Hmm… time will tell. We are excited and looking forward to sharing our journey with you as we fumble our way through this. A big thank you to Hilary, Dane and Norah for driving us to the airport in Edmonton and for putting us up for the last six weeks in Hinton. See y’all on the road.