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july 4th in the 50th state

aloha!

aloha from the national park service

it may not be the most popular time of year to visit maui, but the weather was tropical, everything was in bloom, and the trees served as flower girls.


the trees are flower girls

our first stop was hana. the road to hana was slow, twisted, and dripping with scenic splendor.

highway to hana

the lava flowed down to the sea where it was beat back by the wind.

mindblown windblown

we got up early and hiked through bamboo forests to gigantic waterfalls at haleakala national park. 

bamboo forest



we were the first ones there!

we're the first ones  here!

next stop – lahaina. hey – i have seen this view on t-shirts before!

lahaina

kevin played (really really well…like 400 yard drives…draining 30 footers…) golf at the plantation course at kapalua. 

kapalua

we saw unnecessary fountains under basement stairwells. 

unnecessary fountain

we spent the last few days with fambly from denver in the bustling hippie town of paia. 

 rainbow paia 

catching waves, watching turtles, looking for sharks, eating like kings, playing with the keiki.

this is fun

it was a great trip, worth the looooooooong haul to and fro. hang loose!

paia cafe mambo

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carnival fantasy

i spent last week on a cruise ship in the atlantic ocean going between south carolina and the bahamas.

charleston is only 3 and a half hours from asheville. the cruise left at 5 pm on monday, so we drove down monday morning and got on the ship. no airports, no hotels. easy breezy!

i have never been on a cruise before. it was not exactly like the love boat, but it wasn’t too over the top cheesy either.  it was a lot like woodloch pines, but on a ship.  lots of activities available, but nothing was mandatory.


 there were over 2000 people on the ship. if you’re looking for relatively agreeable, polite passengers, i recommend a ship leaving from charleston as opposed to one from south florida and/or new jersey. it seemed like 99% of our boat was from NC, SC, or Kentucky. They blessed their food before eating, but did not bless out cruise ship staff.  Good trade.

here they are learning the ‘thriller’ dance


 the weather in asheville last week was snowy and sub freezing. the weather in the bahamas was 72 and sunny.

we got off the boat in nassau and went to a resort nearby- site of many james bond movies. they try to keep the riff raff (us) out, but our cabbie lied and said we were staying there and snuck us through the gate and we went to the spa to sign up for a couples massage. it was all very uncomfortable. we were chased out of a hammock in a deserted park while waiting. we drank the world’s loneliest un-garnished bloody mary in a fantastically beautiful but soulless heartless silent bar.

we weren’t supposed to be there, and everybody knew it. i was happy to see it and happy to leave it.

after a peek at the vegas-disney spectacle of the atlantis, we found a sweet spot at the other end of the island called traveller’s rest.

people were nice! they spoke to us! and wanted to take our money! it was glorious!


they even gave us a bonus fritter. they are serious about their conch down there. delicious giant clams.



the next day, the ship stopped in freeport. we took a cab to the reef golf course at the grand lucayan and kevin played golf. it was very beautiful and relaxed. the course was in pretty dang good shape and greens fees were reasonable. he was the second person out at 9 AM and did not wait for a shot, done in about 2.5 hours. it was lovely.


the ship left the bahamas at 5pm on thursday and we had a ‘fun day at sea’ friday, arriving back in charleston at the crack of dawn on saturday. the carnival staff were great – friendly and diligent. they cleaned our room 2 times a day. all of the common areas were constantly being maintained – scrubbed, painted, re-tiled. twice i saw them RECARPETING somebody’s room. i guess when there’s an accident, instead of cleaning the carpet, they pull it up and replace it. it may not be the greenest method, but it definitely seemed clean. 

 one fun, quirky thing about carnival is they make ‘towel creations’ – twist towels into animal shapes. i thought this was extremely funny and wanted to buy the instruction book. kevin wasn’t so amused, and so we didn’t get the book. if anybody is looking for birthday present ideas for me, i would like this book.

all in all, it was a great escape for 5 days, and i would definitely do it again. 


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good stuff

we were 6 hours into a 9 hour road trip, in a hotel parking lot in columbus, georgia. we were on our way to the florida panhandle for ‘parents weekend’ – what would be the first meeting of our parents in the 5 years we’ve been together – picking up my parents at the airport the next morning to stay 3 days at the beach in a condo with kevin’s parents. it was 10 pm and kevin asked “can i help you with your bag?”

i said ‘sure….where is my bag?”

suitcase



my bag was at home.

luckily, i am roughly the same size as kevin’s mom, who hadn’t left for the beach yet and was kind enough to bring me a big bag of t-shirts and pants and belts and jackets that i wore all weekend. along with some junk i scrounged off the target, dick’s, and kohl’s clearance racks in a one hour early morning shopping frenzy in dothan, alabama, (and one slight breakdown in the kohl’s dressing room – why the hell are all these pants spandex! i hate these pants! i am buying these pants anyway! i hate these pants!) and a baseball hat from my dad, i made it!

which was great because we all had a great time. kevin was only slightly creeped out to see me wearing his mom’s clothes all weekend. everybody was on their best behavior and there were no fights and lots of laughs. and cuteness.

finley handing out shells


this was followed by a nice week at home, including some pasture time with pouncey. and pouncey’s tongue.


cows, me, pouncey, and pouncey's tongue

on friday we got in the car again headed for chattanooga and norman blake. this was hour 5 in what was supposed to be a 3.5 hour drive. it was rough.

hour 5 in a 3.5 hour trip

but the show was smooth! norman blake is a guitar master. he was playing with his wife on cello and his friend on fiddle. it was very sweet.

nancy blake norman blake james bryan barking legs Chattanooga
we came home the next day and pouncey passed his first overnight test with flying colors! he didn’t shred anything while we were gone and has earned enough trust to stay at the house next time we go away. no more kennel for pouncey! see you later, bed, bark and beyond.

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a week in colorado

i have been to colorado and i have seen some glorious things.

kevin’s parents’ neighbors have two bernese mountain dog littermates. poppy (upside down female) and barney (side eye male). they are extremely snuggly and sweet. i spent a lot of time squeezing them. they will grow to 100-120 lbs, and only live 7-8 years, but good lord they are awesome animals!

me & poppy & barney


my late great grandfather ‘flops’ once went to a bernese mountain dog convention at the hotel near his house in rhode island and was also wow-ed by their adorableness and continued to talk about bernese mountain dogs as often as he could, which was often.

woody creek outside


a big highlight of the trip was a 30 mile bike ride on the rio grande trail from aspen down to carbondale with a stop for lunch at woody creek tavern. the walls are plastered with polaroids and old memorabilia, much of it associated with local legend hunter s. thompson who used to eat (drink) there every day. the carpet is cheetah print. there are oversized christmas ornaments hanging from the low ceiling. the ice water is free. the salad is organic. the place was packed with bicyclists.

woody creek pitcher


another highlight of the trip was walking a sweet munchkin down to her first grade classroom. she took us on a tour of her 100 year old elementary school building and it was so cool to see her interacting with all the kids and teachers. i may be biased, but i think she’s a superstar in training!

Untitled

all in all, it was a wonderful trip, though it’s always great to be home!

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fresh mullet

fresh mullet

had a great time at the beach last week!  we went to the outer banks, where i lived for a summer 15 years ago.

i lived in a house with 3 guys and 3 girls. the guys were lifeguards. the girls worked in restaurants. the restaurant where i worked had a 6 foot iguana in an aquarium. the iguana was named frisco, the restaurant was named frisco’s. i was not great at waiting tables. i had nightly nightmares about forgetting food. i think i took it too seriously.

anyway the outer banks are about the same. not much has been built in the past 15 years around nags head, and a lot that i remember has been been left to seed or torn down. some of the awesome old signs from the 50’s are still up on hotels.

Great to see you old friend! #obx #tortugas


tortugas is still there. phew.

we tried to catch fish. even used bloodworms.

bloodworms


no luck.

we had more luck flying a kite

go fly a kite


fishing and boogie boarding

and boogie boarding

touching the eyeballs

and touching the eyes of tunas 

it was a great trip!