Kauai: Day 6 – 7

Thursday was a beach and snorkeling day at our hotel/condo.

One treat that you find all over Hawaii is Spam Masubi. You can find them in every little market, in gas stations, and in restaurants. They are the perfect snack on the go. It’s rice, spam, and teriyaki sauce wrapped in nori (seaweed). It’s perfectly sweet and salty and fatty and light. We told Quinn he might enjoy one and did he ever! This was his first of many over the last couple of days.

The snorkeling was not that great but Quinn spotted these 2 small eels under a rock. They were both squirming around quite a bit. A lovely day on the beach.

That afternoon Don and I made a trip out to the local rum store. Unfortunately we could not get in on a tasting or tour but we bought a couple of things to bring home.

We once again cancelled our dinner reservations and had dinner at the hotel Honu Beach Bar. Their frozen Mai Tai was so darned good.

After dinner sunset pictures.

Friday was our last day on the island and we decided on another chill beach day. Don visited a local market in the morning and loaded up on Spam Masubis. The boy can eat some masubi!

The first time we went to Kauai was in October 2008 when Quinn has just turned 1 year old. We had recently found out that Don’s employer, Washington Mutual, was going under and was being bought by Chase Bank but Don’s future employment was unknown. He got a call while we were on Poipu Beach that he was being offered a job with Chase in Columbus, OH (it was later changed to NJ). So this beach always has a special meaning to us.

And here we are on that same beach 13 years later.

The hotel has activities every day and Friday at noon was a Spam Cooking Demonstration. We learned how to make a Spam Masubi and then we each got one. Yum! We also took advantage of some of the other activities. In the ping pong picture, you can see our balcony above on the 3rd floor.

One more Shave Ice before we got home. I got the Chai and Cream and Quinn got the Strawberries & Banana. It was good but my least favorite of the trip.

This might be my favorite picture of the trip!

We had rain every day, several times a day. But it would come and go quickly. Once last rainy look from our balcony.

We had such a great, relaxing week but it is time to go home.

Kauai: Day 4 – 5

On Tuesday we had to be on the road at 6:30 am for an 8 am catamaran ride up the NaPali Coast. We picked a large catamaran that would provide a smoother ride.

Such beautiful Jurassic Park like scenery as we went up the NaPali coast.

We had a snorkel stop before lunch. We saw a small turtle as soon as we jumped in but the Kauai snorkeling just isn’t that great.

We had a fabulous lunch and started heading back. Our catamaran travelled with an identical sister boat that can be seen in this picture.

We got back to the dock around 1 pm and were off to find more Shave Ice. There are lots of food trucks all over Kauai and we decided on this little one outside a local market. Pineapple & Coconut with a scoop of vanilla mac ice cream and all the toppings. Pretty delicious!

We knew we would be pretty tired that night so we had dinner at the little hotel Honu Beach Bar. Their food was surprisingly delicious and while most other restaurants were packed with reservations we were able to easily get an ocean side table. And then an after dinner sunset. So lovely.

On Wednesday we hiked the Maha’ulepu Heritage Trail which starts at a beach about a mile from the condo. Lots of beautiful cliffside ocean views and walks through tunnels of trees.

And then we hiked to this hidden gem — we have never seen anything like this. It’s this huge “sinkhole” where the roof has collapsed on this cave and it is full of fossils and archeological finds.

In order to get into this cave you had to crawl through this small opening (below left) and you come out in a large cave (seen in the picture above on the right side). The picture below right is inside looking out.

We got a really informative tour from a volunteer docent and learned that 95% of the plants on Kauai are not native. Most were brought by canoe by the Polynesians. So a group of volunteers are trying to return this cave area and surroundings to native plants. One way they are doing it is with tortoises that mimic one of the extinct birds on the island.

Right next door is a tortoise preserve. Some of the tortoises roam free in a large penned in area, like Mr. #2, and some are in smaller penned in areas. The 2nd guy came running towards us so he must have thought it was feeding time.

When I booked our trip I made dinner reservations for every night just so we had a back up plan. We ended up cancelling about half of them and doing something more simple, but this night we at dinner at one of Roy Yamaguchi’s restaurants and were treated to a beautiful sunset.

Kauai: Day 1 – 3

This was our 3rd trip to Kauai but it definitely took the most preparation because of Hawaii COVID restrictions and precautions. But I had researched it thoroughly and we were able to travel with ease and skip some long lines because we were so prepared.

We landed in Lihue around 11 am and went off to find some lunch. We settled on Oki’s and I got the Hawaiian Lunch Box. Neither was a good choice.

We received a notice that our room was ready for check in at 1 pm and we also had groceries delivered from Safeway. We were given a great room . We stayed at a Marriott Family Vacation Club and had a 2 BR/ 2 BA condo. It was just right., what a view!

Saturday was spent swimming in the ocean and pool. We also rented beach chairs and an umbrella for the week from a local surf shop. One thing you see everywhere on Kauai are chickens and roosters. So many that many souvenirs and shirts have chicken themed designs.

We spent our Sunday at the beach swimming and snorkeling and boogey boarding. We stayed in Poipu where the Hawaiian Monk Seals come ashore amidst the crowds. (Just a reminder when you see ‘gallery’ of images like below, you can click on an image to see it larger and then browse though the gallery.)

Dinner at The Beach House with a beautiful sunset.

Monday we decided to head to the North side of the island. Our first stop is the Sacred Forest. It is the only Rudraksha forest in the west and produces these cobalt blue marble fruit. It is part of a larger monastery property. There was definitely something special about it.

Then it was on to our favorite north shore beach, Anini. I attempted to recreate one of my favorite family photos from 2016 but I really missed the mark. I found that my pictures this year just weren’t that great. And maybe because I only took my iphone and underwater camera.

We tried as many different Shave Ice places as possible (in Hawaii they drop the d from Shaved). This was my favorite of our whole trip. Both Quinn and I got a Pina Colada Shave Ice with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and topped with Coconut Foam. To Die For!

That night we got take out pizza and ate on the balcony to this view.

Santa Cruz Island Adventure

Our adventure started at 7 am boarding Island Packers ferry in Ventura on our way to Santa Cruz Island, which is the largest of the 8 Channel Islands. Fortunately we were in good company with the Conrath family.

We arrived at a cool and foggy Santa Cruz Island at 8:15 am. We had a full day planned with tickets for the 4:30 pm ferry home.

Some of the gang ready to go!

First up, a hike up the Cavern Point Loop to Potato Harbor. Walking in the clouds.

I captured this flower along the trail. It was quite dewey!

A look down to where we started. The ferry at Scorpion Harbor.

Moving along….

Unfortunately we weren’t able to see the spectacular views. On the bright side, it was cool weather for hiking.

We had never seen these beautiful blue winged ravens before. Upon closer look, we realized they were tagged. I overheard one of the campers saying that Raven #14 was quite an a-hole in the campground.

The fog is starting to burn off. It was nice that once we got to the top we had the place all to ourselves and only saw a few other people.

The Amy’s.

On our way back down.

The Channel Island Fox was the main reason for the trip. Hayden has recently taken a keen interest in foxes and this fox can only be found on the Channel Islands. This trip was to celebrate H’s 13th birthday in early June.

The foxes and the ravens on the island are known for their cleverness in getting into backpacks and coolers in search of food. There are “Fox Boxes” where we stored our food.

There were two foxes playing (or fighting) and this one ran off and started screaming.

We had some lunch and rest time and got all our stuff back in the Fox Box. Then it was on to kayaking. There are alot of caves along the coast of Santa Cruz and we were told that we had perfect conditions for kayaking. I didn’t get many pictures but here’s Quinn and I going through one of the caves.

Don exiting a cave.

Amy C. got this picture, with Quinn and I on the right. You can see the kelp forrest below the very clear water.

One of the highlights of the day was seeing a Bald Eagle. Our kayaking guide noticed that hundreds of seagulls were flying and squawking very loudly which suggested a Bald Eagle was nearby. Sure enough a Bald Eagle came swooping in and plucked a baby seagull out of a nest. It was a pretty incredible sight.

After kayaking we had to make a quick change back to dry clothes, gathered our stuff, and busted a move for the 4:30 pm ferry. We were all pretty bushed after a long, full day of adventure.

One last sight on our way home. What a day!

It’s Party Time

Now that our family and most of our friends have been vaccinated, we can get together unmasked and have fun! Of course my friend Amy was the first to kick it off with a belated birthday party at her house.

I offered to bring a charcuterie board. Trader Joe’s is the place to go to get everything you need for a charcuterie board — there are even a bunch of websites that will show you how to put it together. I use a huge teak platter that I got from my mother.

These aren’t the best of images because it was dark but it was so good to see and hug our friends. It was a pretty great evening!

Mendocino

Quinn and I spent 5 days in Mendocino last week. It’s about an 8-9 hour drive from our house. Once you get off the main highway and start making your way to the coast you pass through this majestic redwood forest. I have to stop, take a picture, and smell the forest-y smells.

Quinn slept a good 4 hours on the way there.

We were staying in the cute little village of Mendocino. We were meeting Quinn’s friend Elias and his family and booked a place within walking distance of their rental.

I got Quinn settled in the room and went for a walk.

We were within easy walking distance of the Mendocino Headlands which is a path on the cliffs above the ocean.

This guy was pretty loud!

On Tuesday we went to the Botanical Gardens . These two teens don’t love their photos taken.

There were miles of paths within the gardens and it was so very lovely.

There was a beautiful dahlia garden. My father grew lots of dahlias in his garden so I have a special affinity towards dahlias.

The path leads to the ocean. It might have been a little windy, but quite beautiful!

Later that day, Davi and I went down to Big River which is a spot where the river meets the ocean.

Davi getting the shot upriver.

The beach at Big River as the sun was going down.

This is the view from our friends rental house with a rising moon.

We only had one sunset during our trip. The clouds or fog rolled in the other evening. So it was nice to catch this sunset.

On Wednesday we visited Mackerricher Park. There is a boardwalk along the ocean and some really vibrant tide pools.

We saw lots of crabs, hermit crabs, snails, and this starfish.

This guy was having a load of fun!

Steve taking a picture of the boys. What a beautiful spot!

That evening I went to catch the sunset but the clouds had rolled in. Still just breathtaking.

We stayed in the “Barn Room” of an old hotel. It was a great sized room. But this door really bothered Quinn and it kept him awake at night. He wasn’t sure where this door led and who might come through it.

Another view of the room from the bed. The big barn doors in the left are the entrance to the room.

On Thursday, Quinn and I walked along the Fern Canyon Trail and it was so green and lush. It was a nice flat trail that ran along a little river. Southern California is so dry, hot and brown right now so this was so inviting for us. We loved this trail.

Thursday afternoon we met up with Elias and family at Jughandle Beach. These boys are two peas in a pod.

Hanging out with Steve on the beach.

Steve brought a football to throw around with the boys. But of course they couldn’t throw it around in a normal way. They used a bucket and a shovel.

And that’s a wrap! We enjoyed spending the week with our friends in such a low-key place where the temperature was cool and the skies were cloudy. Quinn told me that he really liked Mendocino.

Father’s Day…Through the Years

Fathering sure has changed since the times of matching madras shorts at the Greenlake Wading Pool but Don continues to be the supporting arms that are always there for Quinn and our family.

(If you click on the first image, it will take you through the gallery of images.)

Summer Time

Quinn and his closest friends have all been vaccinated. It’s nice not to mask. This is how they like to hang out.

Things are getting back to normal. Maskless class inside on this 100 degree hot day.

This was so welcoming during the heatwave.

Quinn wanted to see who was faster. Quinn won.

Mae enjoyed the afternoon with us.

Drying off in the sun. Best buddies.

Last Day of 7th Grade

An epic 7th grade school year is in the books. Quinn was 100% virtual with 2 classes per day from 9 am – 11:30 am. I don’t know how they covered a years worth of curriculum but they made the most of it.

And Quinn had a great academic year with mostly A’s and a couple of B’s. And that’s with 3 honors classes: english, social studies, and math. Next year he will add honors science to his schedule.

Here’s what the first day of school looked like. We got Quinn a ChromeBook that he used for school only and that worked out really well.

Did I ever post this picture of him learning virtually?

Last day of PE doing push ups. He was so D.O.N.E.

Obligatory last day of school pics. Jumping for joy.

His luscious glory, as Don likes to call his hair.

Class of 2026! Um, it almost fits him in the 7th grade. Should be interesting in the 12th grade.

Just a reminder of years past.

The kid doesn’t really ask for much but we usually get him something at the end of the school year. This year we got him a Gamer’s Laptop. He was so surprised and happy and his gaming friends were so excited for him.

And that’s a wrap on the 7th Grade!

Cousin Susan’s Wedding

I took a solo trip to Northern California to attend my cousin Susan’s Wedding. It’s about a 7 hour drive and I got to Chico Thursday evening, just in time to have dinner with Susan and Vaughn and a bunch of her friends. When I returned to the hotel that evening around 10 pm the temperature was 95 degrees. Wow!

Friday I enjoyed the afternoon floating in her pool in her backyard oasis. They recently did a major facelift on the backyard and pool area and have nicknamed their casa Rancho Relaxo. Ross and Tamara arrived Friday afternoon. That evening Sue hosted a Taco and Margarita party. Pam flew in to Sacramento that evening so I had to cut the night short and pick up Pam.

Saturday was wedding day! It was a flip flop casual wedding in their backyard.

Pam, Ross, and Amy. Our first time together in a couple of years.

Susan was escorted by her two granddaughters, Gracie and Carlee.

Sue and Vaughn. I’ve never seen Sue so smitten and happy. Vaughn is such a great guy and they have so much in common, yet they are quite opposite. I expect them to have many happy years together.

A view of the party from the fancy air conditioned port-o-potties. The van is a Sprinter van that Vaughn has converted into a mini RV. They live on about 4 acres so a handful of their guests arrived and stayed in their RV’s.

Amy, Susan, Pam, Ross.

Sue has two first cousins named Amy, one from her father’s side and one from her mother’s side (me). She just recently connected with the other cousin Amy after not knowing her for most of her life. The other Amy was super interesting and we had an instant friendship. As I type this a week after the wedding, the other Amy is still at Sue’s house helping her jar the produce from her garden.

It was so lovely as the sun was setting. It was also really warm and some feet in the pool were necessary.

Holly, Amy, Holly, Amy. We couldn’t resist. Susan’s friends were having the time of their lives. So much fun.

They literally took the plunge!

The party ended up in the pool! What a fun weekend and so happy I got to spend it with Sue, Pam, Ross, and Tamara.