Sunday, October 17, 2021

Two Island Hawaii Vacation

After some unplanned cancellations, we finally got to Hawaii.  Instead of just going to Maui, we added on Kauai to join up with friends and family.

Day 1

The flight from San Diego to Maui was uneventful and the plane was less than half full.  Getting the rental car took a while since they Hertz office only had 2 employees.  This would prove to be a common theme during out time in Hawaii.  We then drove through central Maui to our first stop in Lahaina.  Downtown Lahaina is a nice compact town.  Since most people stay in the resorts up the coast, the town is fairly empty during the day.  We stayed in an AirBnB that was right in the middle of town.  It was very nice and convenient to walk around from.  We visited the Baldwin House and the Old Courthouse Museums.  For dinner, we hit Lanai Fish and then dessert at Fleetwood's; both are recommended.

Day 2

We woke in quiet Lahaina and got some coffee at Bad Ass Coffee.  We then headed north up the coast.  Winding around the island, our target was Olivine Pools. These are kind of small versions of Queen's Bath on Kauai but much smaller.  Today, the sea was very rough so we didn't go to the outermost pools.  Heading back the way we came, we stopped at a overlook point and then at the parking for Nakalele blowhole.  The hike down was nice and the blowhole sometimes spouted and sometimes not.  It was fun.  When we got back to the lot, we picked up some snacks from a local vendor, Mama Lei's Homemade Goodness.  I like getting food from the roadside stands in Hawaii.  It is usually very tasty and you are helping out a state still reeling from government mismanagement.  We then stopped at another overlook to see the snorkel cruises at Honolua cove.  Next up, we stopped at Fleming Park.  From the parking lot, we hiked the public path through the Ritz Carlton resort to the Dragon's Teeth. Cool hike among the unusual formations.  There was also a labyrinth to calm the spirit.  Back in the car, we drove to Oluwalu for lunch and pie at Leona's.  Back in Lahaina, we couldn't get in anywhere for dinner, so had drinks at Lahaina Fish and had an early night.

Day 3

We checked out of our cottage and headed out along the fabled road to Hana.  Jyoti bought a Gypsy audio tour for the trip so we had someone to guide us the entire trip.  I highly recommend getting this.  The road was as advertised, long and windy.  But the guide told us about the best places to spot and some great side trips that we probably wouldn't have noticed.

We spent the night at the wonderful Hana Kai hotel and got dinner at the local food trucks.

Day 4

It rained and howled most of the night in Hana.  But being from SoCal, it is nice to have that once in a while.  Today we continued along the Hana Road into the Kipahulu section of the Haleakala National Park.  Getting to the parking lot, we quickly put on rain gear since it started to pour again.  We did the short loop along the pools.  However, due to the rains, they were overflowing like Niagara Falls.  We then started up the Pipiwai Trail.  The mud wasn't too bad but it rained on and off along the way up.  The stream was really flowing and the views from the bridges was amazing.  We hiked through the bamboo forest and finally made it to the falls.  This is one of my favorite hikes and should not be missed. After getting some local intel, we decided to gamble and take the road through the back side of Haleakala.  It was a bit rough in spots but even the unpaved sections were perfectly fine in our rental compact sedan.  That side of the island is a very odd mix of ranching and what looks to be abandoned plantations.  Since we were heading to Kula, it made sense for us to go that way.  We made a quick stop at Maui Wine to get some bottle of local wine but then quickly were stopped by police.  They had blocked the road to investigate a fatal accident that must have happened just minutes before us.

After waiting for a couple hours without news of the closure, we decided to go off road.  It ended being a fairly easy trail and we then drove around the island to back to our hotel at Kula Lodge.

Day 5

After a great night's sleep, we made some coffee and tea then headed up the mountain. Our plan was to park at Halemau'u trailhead then hitch a ride up to the Sliding Sands trailhead.  We were then going to hike down into the crater then back up to the car.  However, the weather was really bad going up.  Visibility at Halemau'u was less than 100 yards and it was cold, windy and rainy.  We ended up going in few miles from the top.  As we hiked down, the clouds lifted and we could see the entire crate.  It was an awesome view.  We decided to head up back while the clouds came and went.

We ate at the lodge and had an easy night in Kula.

Day 6

Our first stop on our last day on Maui was at the Lavender Fields.  It was nice walk through the gardens and having tea with great views.  We then drove by Surfing Goat Farm.  Unfortunately it was closed but the goats we could see looked very happy.  We spent the rest of the day before our flight exploring the southern resort area.  We stopped at a few beaches along the way but the wind made it somewhat unpleasant.

Day 7 - 11

For the second half of our trip, we headed to Kauai where my parents, brother, his wife and the Martin's were already there.

We didn't do as many activities as in past trips but still got in Sleeping Giant, walks on the beach and some other stuff.

We were able to get in dinners at Beach House, Gaylord's, and Oasis.

Lahaina Harbor

Olivine Pools

Moonrise over Lanai

Hana Bay

Hiking in the rain

Waimoku Falls

Haleakala Crater

Pono Kai beach

Dinner at Oasis

Monday, September 27, 2021

Mount Laguna Overnighter

 Originally planned as a scout event, I did a overnight up at Burnt Rancheria in the Lagunas.  Traffic getting there was the worst I have seen in a long time so I got there in the dark.  I set up camp right before it started drizzling; nothing too bad but enough to get in the tent after a quick dinner.  I woke up to hit the trail right after making some coffee.  My plan was to head up the PCT and hit Monument Peak, then see how I felt and plan the return to camp.

The hike to Monument Peak was great.  Although smoke and haze ruined the views to the desert; you could barely see Whale Peak.  After Monument, I headed over the Hays Peak.  My knee was feeling pretty good so I decided to take a circular route back via the lagunas.  The "trail" down from Hays was steep and overgrown but thankfully short.  From there I headed across Sunset Highway into the closed Horse Heaven camp.  I stopped for a bathroom break in the southeast part of Laguna campground and headed out into the meadows.  At one of the junctions, I decided to head back since I didn't want to push my knee too hard.  I headed up the trail to Red Roost and then back into Burnt Rancheria.  It was about 11 miles overall with great weather.

Smoke and haze over the desert

Hays Peak from Monument Peak

Along the trail

Tuesday, September 07, 2021

Veterans Day Weekend Activities

Jo and I made the most of the long weekend.

We had pistol day at the range.


Small pistol lineup

Then had a nice hot hike at Tecolote Canyon.


Tecolote Canyon trail map

Made the drive up to Raahauges for sporting clays.


Those clays are tricky!

I won a glider flight at last year's SDIC auction and we finally got that chance to go.  It was a warm day driving out to Skysailing at Warner Springs and we thought it would be too hot.  After we signed up and waited a bit for the pilot, Bill.  We both squeezed into the small rear seat, Bill sat in the front and they hooked up the tow.  We quickly left the ground as the tow plane dragged us higher.  After a few minutes, the rope broke.  But Bill was able to find a thermal at the base of the Palomars that lifted us another few thousand feet.  We then flew near Hot Springs Mt.  It was around this time that I got sick.  After a bit more flying, we headed quickly in for a landing.  It was great time and worth the airsickness.

Getting the glider ready

Tight fit in the back seat

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Atlanta Long Weekend

Our family finally got a chance to visit the in-laws in Atlanta!  Jyoti and Bengt went a week early and had a get together up in Greenville.  Jaya and I came later and missed the fun.

  • Visited our properties in Cedartown and Rockmart
  • Hiked at Sweetwater Creek State Park
  • Jaya learned some cookie with Aji
  • Sampled some of the local chicken (Bojangles, Zaxby's, Chick-Fil-A)
  • Van Gogh Immersion exhibit

Breakfast at SAN

Hanging at Van Gogh's pad

Sweetwater Creek with lots of water

Ruins of Manchester mill

Cooking lessons


Philmont 2021 802-7Q

Outbound trip

  • stopped at Holbrook, camped at a AirBnB backyard tent site next to a KOA
  • very little rain


Holbrook camping

Day 1

  • waiting for everyone to fly and drive in so we could begin training
  • met ranger Ben
  • no flags or mess hall; food was given out in crates to eat at camp, better than normal food but I miss the community of the hall

Day 2

  • changed early bus to late bus due to disorganization
  • almost immediately after leaving camp, it started raining hard, then lightning
  • did lightning position for over an hour
  • walked through Zastrow and then hit a overflowing Rayado; couldn't find the sketchy bridge at first
  • got to camp around 7
  • on and off light rain while at camp
  • did bear bag training
  • did food training at 9pm
  • rained a bit overnight

Loading the bus to Zastrow trailhead

Getting ready to hike

Hiking in the rain

 Day 3

  • wet but no rain in the morning
  • hiked to Abreu for the tour, cantina and animals; they had a young burro
  • hiked up hill to Carson Meadows; started raining hard half mile from camp
  • waited on porch until rain stopped
  • campsite was nice but bear bag area was completely flooded
  • tent was on slope so didn't sleep well

Abreu homestead

Baby burro

Babies sleep a lot even when chickens bother them

Flooded bear hang

Carson Meadows cabin


  • one scout decided he couldn't keep hiking; he was having a rough time and I agreed with his decision; however, we had to wait for the staff to get a ride for him back to base camp
  • hike to Fish Camp was longer and more up and down than I remembered
  • got to camp too late for fishing
  • had great weather

Rayado River canyon

Dining fly at Fish Camp

Fish Camp cabin

 Day 5

  • woke up to lots of dew that soaked our tents
  • took a tour of the lodge which was really cool
  • hiked up the river but some of the foot bridges were washed out due the recent rain; we had to cross at the roads
  • first stop was Philips Junction to get our load of food and chocolate milk
  • continued on to Beaubien and go there in time for conservation project
  • cons was clear brush and making burn piles; I pulled my hamstring dragging wood up and down the hills but it was fun anyway
  • Chuckwagon dinner and campfire were great

Crossing the creek

Beaubien cabin

Making burn piles


  • had nice sunny weather heading down the meadow
  • decided not to hit Trail Peak
  • went over Fowler Pass and down into Crater Lake
  • did spar pole climbing which was awesome; I was the only one not to make it to the top
  • last night on trail

Hiking down the meadow

Crater Lake cabin

Spar pole climbing

Day 7

  • cruised down the trail into Lovers Leap trailhead ahead of schedule
  • air was hazy due to smoke from western wildfires
  • decided to hike the extra 2 miles to basecamp rather than wait for the bus
  • fun campfire but it had terrible audio

On the trail

Flowers and Tooth of Time

 Day 8

  • long drive back home

Sunday, August 15, 2021

Weekend Activities

  • Awesome Combat Steel shoot at Rainbow Range
  • Picked up reload ammo at Beebe 
  • Nice dip at the beach
  • Some upper body workouts around a knee injury

Quick swim at Cardiff


Happy Birthday, Fiat Dollar

And not too many more...

Friday, July 30, 2021

Memories of Sophie

When Jaya started demanding a dog, Jyoti looked around at local shelters and online.  After some searching, we discovered Sophie on Craigslist.  Her family couldn't keep her at their apartment anymore.  Our family was very excited to get a dog.

2006 - on the way to a hike

However, soon after Jyoti discovered she was allergic and her prior family asked to take her back.  It was heartbreaking for Jaya.  But in another twist, Sophie missed us and her family returned here to us a few weeks later, this time for good!

2006 - upon Sophie's return

Sophie was full of energy and loved hikes.  Her favorites were Manchester Preserve (aka Pipe Hike), San Elijo Lagoon and Cardiff.  She had countless walks at those and other locations.  My favorite memories are of walking with her in nature.

2007 - hike at south side of lagoon

2007 - muddy paws

2008 - jogger hike

2008 - lagoon nature center

2008 - pipe hike


2009 - Lake Hodges bridge

2010 - lagoon nature center

2012 - makeshift leash

2013 - seeing her leash gets her excited for a walk

2014 - coming back from a hike

2015 - east of Lake Hodges

2016 - beach hike

2017 - Carmel Valley hike

2017 - lagoon nature center

2017 - she loved our old Passport/Rodeo

2018 - caught in the rain at Cardiff

2018 - very furry at the beach

2018 - Sophie selfie

2018 - Sophie's view of the ocean

2018 - pipe hike views

2018 - windy day at Cardiff

2018 - more beach hiking

2018 - ready to turn around

2019 - Anza-Borrego flowers

2019 - at Bengt's spot in Cardiff

2020 - one of her last car rides

2021 - last walk at the lagoon

She was the most cheerful dog. She always was excited to greet us when we got home.  And she loved hanging out on the couch with us chewing a bone.

2008 - at my parent's old house

2010 - chewing a bone on our old leather couch

2011 - a bone bigger than her

2018 - sitting on laundry

Sophie loved people food, especially meat of any kind.  She often would avoid her kibble in the hopes of getting a treat of chicken or steak. Up to the very end, she would get very excited when she smelled chicken in the house.

2017 - wagging her tail to get some chicken

Sophie was fine being a solo dog and avoided other dogs.  When we took her to dog parks, she usually just sat there and watched the other dogs.  She would even avoid drinking from community dog bowls; we would have to bring our own bowls or refresh the water.  We tried getting another dog but Sophie not having it and had a tantrum.

2007 - one of the few times she played with another dog

Like all dogs, she loved to sleep and she spent lots of time in sun spots on the couch or in her basket.


2020 - lots of sleep late in her life

2018 - fur ball

2017 - happy sunspot

2017 - cool concrete

2016 - her favorite outdoor chair

2014 - among the pillows



Sophie hated swimming, baths and anything having to do with water.  At my parents old house, we put her in the pool a few times so she could swim around and find the steps before drowning.

2016 - getting a bath


After a long active life, her health started to fail.  A few years ago her hearing went out.  Next she started to have problems jumping on the bed and going up the steps.  As her arthritis got worse, her eyesight started to fail.  We stopped taking her for walks.  Her dementia increased this year and she needed constant care.  Since she couldn't make it out of the doggie door, we often returned home and found accidents on the floor.  Good thing we had tile.  She wore diapers at night in our bed. In the last few weeks, she was having a hard time going to the bathroom and would yelp on occasion.  We knew it was time.  We drove up to visit Jaya one last time and went to the vet hospital where she worked.  It was quick and peaceful... and very sad. 


2021 - saying our final goodbyes

Here is just a small sampling of her adventures.