Monday, September 28, 2009

Endless Summer .....

this is the mantra of the North Shore...

I know summer is over, hard to imagine when we came home to 100 + temperatures, but you can't deny the days are shorter and the nights are cooler.

Kevin and I were lucky enough to extend our summer just a bit longer with a wonderful vacation.

The North Shore of Oahu is truly a beautiful destination. Anyone planning a trip will not be disappointed. The beaches are everything you would imagine Hawaii to be like.... long and sandy and the most vibrant shades of blues and greens.

I took over 700 pictures (don't worry I will be gentle and try not to post them all .. haha) and I don't think you can ever capture the true beauty.

While we were there we had a few days of unexpected high surf... waves 20 + feet and what a show they put on. You could feel the force and strength of these waves thundering through the sand.

We flew into Honolulu, grabbed the rental car (we were treated to an upgrade by Kevin's cousin, who works for Enterprise, to a convertible) and of course headed straight to Costco for the essentials. From Costco we headed across the island to the North Shore and Turtle Bay.

Kevin and I have decided that we really enjoy a condo feel rather than a hotel because we don't like to eat every meal out. Don't get me wrong... this vacation was one giant eating fest, but it is nice to have the option... and I do enjoy my coffee on the balcony in the morning (especially when Kevin makes it). We opted for a Villa on the beach, which turned out to be just perfect and the best of both worlds.

Kevin grabbed his towel ... and we headed to the beach for a swim, a beverage, a bit of exploring and our first sunset of the trip.

Would you believe that was me in the lounge chair... ? I didn't think so.
Do you see the caution tape to Kevin's left?

This big guy was on the other side. I guess he has priority on the beach and he was stretched out for a little snooze.

A few pics of the Villa before we gave it that lived in look.

Nice big TV and Bose stereo system. Can you believe
we never turned the TV on?

Shot from the balcony in.


View from the balcony to the pool

That lived in look...

Our first sunset of the trip from our beach looking onto the hotel.
Kevin's Heaven
Room pictures courtesy of the Little Mule
Outdoor pictures courtesy of the Big Dog

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Paradise Lost

Hawaii .... North Shore .... Turtle Bay

Kevin and I returned from Paradise this morning. After a red eye flight we arrived at LAX at 5:45 AM. Sean was elected to pick us up since everyone else is out of town.

Thanks Sean.

I'm a bit wired so before I go in for a nap I thought I would post a little preview of the trip.

Kevin and I got a new Olympus Stylus Tough 6000 camera to take on this trip.

This is a durable, shock resistant, underwater camera with a multitude of settings. I actually used several of the settings and was amazed at what this little guy can do (I have not even tapped into the settings for the Nikon yet...but with this new challenge going I will need the upper hand... study time). We have a lot to learn about it but here are a couple underwater shots.

Me .... tee hee


The Olympus has earned the name of the "Little Mule" and my Nikon has been named the "Big Dog".

Seems like we have a bit of competition going on in this household. Kevin has claimed the "Little Mule" for himself.

You can decide which camera is the winner. In the future posts I will disclose which camera took the photo.

Until then... Aloha

Looking on to Turtle Bay from our balconywith a welcome to Hawaii lunch.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Outdoor Wednesday ..... Shark!!!!!!!

In honor of my upcoming trip to Hawaii with my husband on Thursday
I am reposting an Outdoor Wednesday from last years trip.
This was a crazy adventure that I don't want to recreate...but I guess you
never know.......See you in 10 days
Another Outdoor Wednesday, I am so excited to participate. Thank you Susan at ASouthernDaydreamer for hosting.

I would like to start this Outdoor Wednesday with a story.

Once upon a time there was a Mr and Mrs who took a vacation to
the beautiful island of Hawaii. Kevin Dear and Darling loved the tropic beauty of the
sand and sea. Loving it so much they decided to take a snorkel trip that
was not as sterile as most snorkel trips. This trip was on a hard decked
zodiac with about 10 other people. A little more rough and tumble and closer to the water.

Some of the beaches had
been closed to the North do to shark sighting, but our guide told us everything was fine and
he would take us snorkeling, and then to a beautiful deserted beach. Kevin Dear and Darling
said sign us up at once. So off we went....

Not at all concerned but very excited we quickly came upon a pod of spinner dolphins.
They were jumping and swimming right next to our boat. Kevin Dear got a picture
of a little guy showing off for us.

Then the story gets interesting.

Our guide told us another pod of dolphins had been sighted and would we like to get into the water and see them up close. Well of course we did.
So as instructed, with no flippers just masks, we jumped into the water. It was
amazing. We were so close to the dolphins, and they seemed just as curious about
us as we were about them. They came a little closer to check us out.

As fast as they arrived, they were gone.
The guide told us to get back in the boat, take our time but hurry up.

Kevin Dear and Darling were one of the first one's in and they overheard the
guide telling the captain, "No, don't say anything yet". Darling looked at the guide and asked "don't say anything about what?"
He told her there may be something else in the water. Darling of course asked,

"Is it friend or foe?"
The guide just smiled...

Sure enough when everyone was back in the boat he told us there
was something off the bow. We all looked and saw a 10-12 foot tiger shark.

He swam right by our boat about 6 foot down. The guide even put his head in the water for a closer look...crazy. Since our boat was only about 22 foot it seemed
like he was passing us forever.

Darling felt like she was in Jaws as that big shark was passing the boat. As people leaned over to the side to see him
Darling thought we would tip the boat and see Mr. Shark up closer and more personal.

There is our boat keeping watch over our deserted beach.

After our adventure and everyone was safe, our guide
took us to this most exquisite deserted beach. Here we
shared a beverage and couldn't stop talking about our shark adventure.

Now back to the other Outdoor Adventures at Susan's

Aloha...see you soon

It ain't over till the "Fat" lady sings

I'm a singing because it's over and we packed up to head home.

Monday morning it was time to head home. We enjoyed a leisurely morning at Tracy's... did a tad more shopping and headed for the airport. We had a noon flight out and prolonged our goodbyes for as long as we could. After a few tears and hugs we were heading for the gate.

It had been a perfect weekend and nothing had gone wrong ..... until ... we were sitting on the plane waiting to take off. The captain came out in his infinite wisdom and said he wasn't happy with the propeller so would we please exit the plane.

They would call a repairman and get us back on the plane as soon as possible. We didn't mind...who in their right mind wants to get on a plane with a broken propeller?

We were stargazing anyway.. we had two celebrities and their families on our plane. Recognize either of them?

Jim Belushi

Amy Brenneman

Well off the plane we went... a couple hours later we were back in our seats, fastening our seat belts.

That lasted all of 5 minutes and we were ushered off the plane again.

Now... if you were taken off a broken plane not once but twice would you want to go on a third time...our celebrities didn't think so.

They chartered a jet and went back to L.A. together as we waited to hear what are fates would be. As it turned out they brought in a new plane from Portland to fly us home.

Here's a shot of our dearly departed plane.

So a couple hours later, into the new plane and home.... check this out

I shot these as we were landing.





So about 6 hours later than scheduled we were pulling into our home sweet homes with memories of a great trip.

Thanks for coming along with me and helping me relive a great weekend... Thanks Trace.

Monday, September 14, 2009

There "are" Cougars on the Oregon Trail

Cougar Country?

On our last day in Oregon, Tracy made arrangements for us to go wine tasting (like we needed more wine tasting) and on a River Trip. Being the responsible ladies that we are, she also asked her cousin, Brice, if he would drive us (now she did also ask him if he would do this with no shirt and a bow tie... we will have to see if that happened) Tracy runs a freight brokering business and I guess over the last few weeks she has been telling any truck driver that would listen that the Cougars were coming from California, so before we got there we had already developed quite the reputation... and small towns are small towns.

We had a reservation at the Jacksonville Inn for brunch and believe me after our full Saturday we were moving a little slower by Sunday. We were greeted at breakfast by Brice..and no he did not have his shirt off with a bowtie. Our waiter however thought it would be funny if he loaned Brice his bowtie for our picture. Brice was such a good sport.

From Brunch we couldn't resist peeking into the shops just one more time... quickly of course (I bought these flip flops)

and then off for wine tasting to the Rogue Valley and Applegate Valley. This area is so beautiful, if you are ever in this area it is a must see and the day couldn't have been more perfect.

One of the hot wines we tasted was the
Viognier, which I had not tasted before

The weather was clear, cool and beautiful

The winemaker joined us for this picture.
The landscape was amazing.
We were entertained by colorful parasailors dotting the sky.

Next Troon Vineyard.. this was the most picturesque vineyard.
Here we did a wine and food pairing which was so fun. The food,
though teeney tiny portions was exquisite.

Here are the grapes ready for picking

Next stop Hellgate Jet Boat Trip
This was a jet boat trip on the Rogue River
Here's the setup
One wild river with an even wilder jet boat captain

Unsuspecting victims (very dry)

A gorgeous canyon teaming with wildlife

and then it happens.... be prepared to get wet.... very wet

but fun all the same

Good sports

No one was safe

But then they fed and watered us

Yes, we ate again... the menu
Barbecued chicken and ribs
Biscuits and cornbread
Dessert ..Berry cobbler with those famous Marion berries
all you wanted of everything

Happy Campers

and then back to civilization

safely thanks to Randy our guide (little known fact... Randy is an

underwear model in the off season..what do you think?)

This was the only day we got back to Tracy's by 9:00.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

To Ashland and Beyond

Next morning after convincing Tracy that we did not need her to make us yet another meal, we feasted on leftovers. I know bummer for us ;)
After breakfast we headed out to Harry and David's for their wine and food festival. With the help of a bracelet, purchased to taste wine and food and help a local cause we were let loose on the winemakers of Southern Oregon. We tasted wine and food from Harry and Davids for quite sometime. One of the highlights was a food pairing from local restaurants which was wonderful. Oregonians (???) sure know how to eat.

They had live music to add to the festivities

This was our first tasting.

From Harry and David's we were off to Ashland. Like Jacksonville, Ashland is a quaint and picturesque little town.

We took a stroll through Lithia Park which was just beautiful.

Being my obnoxious self I made the ladies pose. Considering how many of these "posed" pictures I had to go through I don't think it was a hardship on their part. They had a ball posing.

The day and the view from town.

This is Ashland Creek

Oh how did I get in there?

More posing

We were greeted by 3 young deer... and they
must have liked us, because they continued to eat, unaffected by our presence, to Katina's delight
We had dinner creekside at the Thai Pepper...
and no that was not the end of our day. From dinner we went to see a play, The Music Man. We were tired puppies by the time we got home, but the play was terrific.

This is part of the Shakespeare Festival (I know the Music Man isn't Shakespeare) Check out more info on Ashland and the Shakespeare Festival

Our celebrity sighting at the play was Jim Belushi and his family.

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