Just a heads up: the URL for Zach’s Louisville, Kentucky-area Derby home rental website has changed. It’s now louisvillederbyhomerental.com. Updated them bookmarks.
A lot of you have asked to see pictures of our new house in Louisville. Here you go:
Yes, that’s our site. And if you’re interested in renting our house for Derby, please let us know. We offer a friends and family discount (the amount varies based on who asks for it though).
We’ll be happy to put a number on our friendship.
Tom Bennett, a friend of my Margaret’s and the former Kentucky Commissioner of Fish and Wildlife, needs AB positive or AB negative blood.
If you have this type of blood and are willing to donate, please call the Blood Center in Louisville at (502) 540-7102 to make an appointment to donate plasma.
Please specify that you are donating for C. Thomas Bennett (he is in the ICU at Baptist East Hospital in Louisville).
Bennett was diagnosed with the rare blood disorder, TTP or Thrombotic Thrombocytopenic Purpura. He is on a ventilator and dialysis and needs plasma-replacement therapy.
Seven months after we returned from Europe (yeah, I’m slacking on the photos), our honeymoon pictures are finally online. Select a photo to go to that picture in Flickr where you’ll have easy access to the rest of our shots from that city. Or you can view the entire collection here.
Just a brief roundup of some relevant links that might be of interest (but probably aren’t):
- Margaret and Zach find bird feathers in their spinach (the blog that ran the story is owned by the same company that owns the travel blog I write for)
- Zach’s dad wrote an op-ed piece for the local paper about highway development issues
- I’m not one for reliving high school sports glory days (namely because there weren’t many for me), but The Boston Globe recently published a feature on my high school’s athletic prowess
So once Steph left, I made a solo day trip to the Big Island.
I am an idiot for not planning better; the Big Island has two airports and I flew into the one that was further away from the main attraction and my main reason for visiting—Volcano National Park. I’d like to say I had a good excuse for such a lack of forethought, but I’m a travel writer for !@#$% sake’s. Hence the only conclusion is that I’m an idiot.
Anyway, at Jamie K.’s suggestion I stopped at Pu’uhonua o Honaunau, an ancient religious ground on my way to Volcano.
In ancient Hawaii (and by “ancient,” I mean about 150 years ago) the punishment for almost every crime was death. And there were a slew of ways to violate the law too; for example, standing in the king’s shadow was forbidden. But if a law breaker could get to Pu’uhonua o Honaunau before being killed, he or she would be pardoned and usually could return to home within a day.
After an hour or so there, I headed back to the car to drive to Volcano. The ride took about three hours and led me just a few miles north of the southern-most point in the United States (no, it’s not Key West). For a long duration of the drive, there was just one radio station, which played traditional Hawaiian tunes, and for about half an hour, even that station didn’t come in well.
Volcano National Park’s rangers know what its main attraction is—lava. Unfortunately one of the first things I saw at the visitor’s center was a sign that said no lava was visible that day. On April 14, however, that changed: Yahoo! news: Kilauea offers rare view of glowing vent. Furthermore, a sizable part of the park was closed when I was there because of high sulfur dioxide levels (the entire park was closed April 8-9 for that reason). Unfortunately, volcanoes don’t always cooperate.
So I drove around Crater Rim Drive for as far as I could, stopping at each overlook to take pictures and enjoy the sweet smell of sulfur.
Afterwards I returned to the visitors center and asked a ranger for the best way to see the volcano in the four hours I had before I had to drive back to the airport in Kona. He recommended hiking the Kilauea Iki Trail, which goes through the craters. It took about four hours and was amazing.
The first part of the trail was all lush greenery.
But at the end of the descent, I was spit out into a volcano seemingly void of life other than fellow hikers.
But upon closer examination, vegetation was making some progress.
After finishing the hike, I got in the car and drove four hours back to the airport in Hilo, exhausted.
The next day I worked until 4 p.m., at which point I put on my new board shorts and water shirt and went surfing. Or tried to. Despite having no problems getting up on my own during my lesson, I got destroyed this time out. After an hour of drinking ocean water, I returned my surf board to the rental place.
I knew the beach where I was surfing was a lot harder than where I’d been the previous week, but as sunset was near, there was only one board rental place open. I had neither the time nor inclination to carry the board half a mile down the street to where I’d have an easier time. In hindsight, bad move.
The day after was our last in Hawaii. More out of obligation than interest, I went to Pearl Harbor (I had a lot of work to do and, if I was going to blow it off—which was clearly the case—I wanted to spend my last day in Hawaii doing something enjoyable or going back to one of my favorite spots).
Maybe it’s because living near DC I drive by the Vietnam Memorial at least once a week (the most effective memorial I’ve ever seen) or maybe it’s that any venue would disappoint after hiking through a volcano, but Pearl Harbor struck me more as just another tourist attraction than a somber memorial to the people killed on December 7, 1941. The most moving part for me was watching three survivors autograph books. That being said, monuments are subjective (they either move you or they don’t), so I wouldn’t discourage anyone from visiting the USS Arizona Memorial and the rest of Pearl Harbor.
I then went to the Bishop Museum, Honolulu’s one-size-fits-all science, art, children’s, and anthropological museum with the Hawaiian sports hall of fame thrown in. If you’re in Hawaii for 45 days, it’s worth a visit. Otherwise, it probably can be skipped.
For our last night there, Margaret and I went to the Halekulani Hotel, which is on the water, and sipped tropical drinks, watching a hula dancer and the sunset.
The next morning we barely made our flight to Los Angeles. Apparently having 45 days to prepare for our return wasn’t enough time.
So where’d I leave off? Oh yes, Monday.
Monday I tended to all that work I’d ignored the past week (you’ll notice work was barely mentioned in our last post) while Margaret was back in the office and Steph went to the beach. But Tuesday Steph and I hiked to the top of Diamond Head.
It was a fun hike and the view from the top was great, but I prefer hikes with more trails and less stairs.
Wednesday Steph and I rented a Geo and drove around the island, stopping at a flea market near the stadium, the previously fawned over Poke Stop (where I had two more lunches), and the North Shore, before returning to the stadium and joining Margaret and Wendy to watch the Pan Pacific Championships, which featured David Beckham.
Somehow I managed to refrain from swooning.
Despite having played poorly and his team having lost, after the match Beckham came out to midfield, waved to the crowd, came to the sideline a few rows in front of us, and gave his shirt to a fan. And the fan was no wide-eyed kid; it was a wide-eyed woman in her 20s.
Steph and I went fishing off the shore of Diamond Head the next day. I regret to report that she caught more fish than I did (mostly trigger fish), but seeing as her job is to promote boating and fishing, I’m ok with it. Being on a boat, however, afforded a different perspective of Ohau—and we saw a whale and Molokai (the closest island to Oahu).
Steph, Margaret, and I had hoped to spend a weekend on the Big Island, but Margaret had to work one day that weekend. So instead, we hung around Oahu and had a laid back weekend.
As is Margaret’s custom, we’re hosting a party on April 27 at the Middleburg Point-to-Point Steeplechase. I think we sent the invite to everyone in the DC area, but if we neglected to include you it probably wasn’t intentional. Here’s the Evite:
And if you aren’t in the DC area, but want to join us anyway, we’d love to have you and have ample room for you to crash with us.
No need to bring food—Margaret prides herself on putting out a lovely spread. Actually, she prides herself on her hat, but the food is a close second.
Hope to see you there!
Ironic isn’t it? When not much was happening in Hawaii, I had ample time and inclination to blog. But our last few weeks in Hawaii, we had a lot going on and I didn’t feel like taking time away from the fun to write about it. (I’m much more likely to blog when the other option is working, which brings us to this post.)
Here’s a recap of what happened in Hawaii since my last post (which ended with me hanging out in the hotel, waiting for Carolyn and Chris to arrive while Jamie K. was off on the Big Island).
Chris and Carolyn arrived only a few hours late, but understandably exhausted. Their first day in Hawaii they relaxed at the beach and pool while I worked. But the next day we rented a Jeep Wrangler and drove around the island, watching 30-foot waves crash on the North Shore (the picture doesn’t do it justice—the bartender at our hotel, an avid surfer, said the waves were as high as they’d be all year).
We also went snorkeling at the previously mentioned Hanauma Bay, which was my favorite activity in Hawaii.
Later on in their stay, Chris and I took surfing lessons. It was surprisingly easy to get up on the board, but it was also exhausting. By the end of our two-hour lesson Chris and I were content to float on our boards rather than have to paddle ourselves back out for another run.
On Valentine’s Day Margaret was off in Midway, 1,100 miles further west of Oahu. Carolyn and Chris invited me to dinner with them, but I didn’t feel like being the third wheel. Plus, I reckoned with Margaret gone, I could have that special Valentine’s Day dinner I’d never be able to have if she were present: Denny’s Moons Over My Hammy®.
Margaret returned the next day as did Jamie. The following Saturday the five of us hiked to Manoa Falls.
After hiking Jamie and I climbed the Aloha Tower. Docked next to it was Paul Allen’s dinghy.
It’s named Octopus and is one of the world’s largest private yachts (you can get the skinny on it at Wikipedia). To take that picture, I had to use my camera’s panoramic mode.
Steph arrived from DC mid-afternoon that day. For dinner that night the now six of us found a restaurant that served half-priced sushi after 10 p.m. (hey, it’s no less fresh than what it was serving at 9:45 p.m.).
The next day, Sunday, was gorgeous. Most of us went to Kailua Beach Park.
(That’d be Jamie floating). There, one of Margaret’s colleagues and her family were gracious enough to let us borrow their kayaks and row out to a small island bird sanctuary.
Later that evening we dropped Carolyn, Chris, and Jamie off at the airport.
I originally intended for this post to be the last one from Hawaii, but it’s gone on for too long. I’ll cover our last two weeks there (which includes my trip to the Big Island and Pearl Harbor, as well as shopping and hiking and shopping and fishing and shopping with Steph) in the next post.