Sunday, June 30, 2013

SEC Storied Episode Guide

ESPN Films launched the “Storied” documentary series in September 2011, presenting fans the opportunity to explore the rich athletic history of the Southeastern Conference. From extraordinary athletes and coaches to defining games and moments, the “Storied” series features films from the SEC’s recent and more distant past.

1. Herschel Walker by Rory Karpf - September 16, 2011
Profiling former Georgia running back Herschel Walker. The 1982 Heisman Trophy winner overcame teenage bouts with bullying for being overweight and having a severe stutter.
2. The Play That Changed College Football by Jeff Cvitkovic - December 4, 2011
The Play That Changed College Football takes a look back at the first SEC Championship Game in 1992 between Florida and Alabama. The documentary dives into what the inaugural championship meant at the time and what it has meant to college football today.
3. 40 Minutes of Hell by Jose Morales - February 14, 2012
Explore the rise, fall and re-birth of legendary University of Arkansas coach Nolan Richardson, at a time when the state of Arkansas was at the epicenter of American culture.
4. Lolo Jones by Rory Karpf - May 21, 2012
The appeal of the Lolo Jones story goes beyond the track and field community. It is one of heartbreak, adversity and the hope of triumph at the end, the kind of storyline that appeals to the masses. This is her story!
5. Croom - September 25, 2012
An insightful look at Sylvester Croom, the first African-American center at the University of Alabama and one of the school's first black players. After playing for legendary Coach Paul "Bear" Bryant, then coaching under him for a decade, Croom eventually rose to become head football coach at Mississippi State University and, more importantly, the first African American head coach in the Southeastern Conference. Narrated by Terrence Howard.
6. Going Big by Jon Fish and Tom Friend - December 20, 2012
Plagued by injuries at UK and the NBA, Sam Bowie has always been overshadowed by his draft placement. The 7-foot-1 center was seen by many as a franchise player when he was selected by Portland with the second overall pick in the 1984 NBA Draft, just ahead of Michael Jordan. Sadly, injuries limited his success while Jordan helped the NBA reach new heights. Sam Bowie went on to a long and relatively productive professional careerr, despite recurring leg injuries. Still, he is labeled a bust because of lofty expectations. Going Big tells Bowie's story of perseverance and determination. Now a successful horse-owner in Lexington who never let his run of bad fortune deflate his spirit, Bowie has found success and happiness.
7. Miracle 3 by Rory Karpf - March 3, 2013
Trailing Mississippi State 59-56 with seconds left in regulation, Alabama forward Mykal Riley heaves a buzzer beater as time expires in the 2008 SEC men's basketball tournament. Unknowinly, his short saved thousand of lives. A few minutes into overtime, the Georgia Dome begins to shake. A major tornado is sweeping through downtown Atlanta, the first to hit the city since the 1880s. If the game ended in regulation, thousands would have been outside unprotected in the path of the oncoming twister. This "Miracle Three" prevented a major tragedy. What followed was also a "miracle three" days when rivals united, heroes emerged and underdogs prevailed.
8. Abby Head On - May 15, 2013
Abby Wambach never gives up. The soccer phenom has maintained an astonishing level of success, from helping the Florida Gators win their first and only national championship, to collecting a Founders Cup title with the WUSA's Washington Freedom and earning two Olympic gold medals. But her journey included setbacks - the collapse of a professional league, World Cup disappointments, and a career-threatening injury - all the while shouldering the changing of the guard of the Women's National Team. Abby: Head On shows how Wambach has persevred, making her mark on the sport and becoming one of the best this country has ever produced.
9. The Book of Manning - September 24, 2013 - Trailer

10. The Stars Are Aligned by Andy Billman - Thursday, August 14, 2014 at 9 p.m.
What do Ashley Judd, Darius Rucker, James Carville and Governor Rick Perry have in common? Well, they live and die with the fortunes of their respective SEC schools. In “The Stars Are Aligned,” 14 famous figures—each representing a different college in the Southeastern Conference—spill their emotions and explain why they’ll never forget where they came from. Among the other celebrities featured are Charlie Daniels, Amy Robach, Jonathan Papelbon, Melissa Joan Hart, Emmitt Smith, Shepard Smith and Ralphie May.
11. Bo, Barkley and The Big Hurt by Larry Weitzman - Thursday, August 21, 2014 at 8 p.m.
It started with the unheralded arrival of a wisecracking heavyweight basketball player named Charles Barkley. Then came the recruitment of multi-sports legend Bo Jackson, a victory in itself since he might have gone to Alabama. When Frank Thomas wasn’t drafted by a major league baseball team, he decided to cast his fate with Auburn… as a football player. Told through an unforgettable reunion of the famed trio at the 2013 Iron Bowl, here’s the real story of how these future Hall of Famers turned the orange and blue of Tiger athletics into gold.
12. The Believer by Kenny Chesney and Shaun Silva - Wednesday August 27, 2014 at 8 p.m. - trailer
The SEC is in Steve Spurrier’s blood. He grew up in Tennessee as a fan of the Volunteers. He won the Heisman Trophy as the quarterback for the University of Florida, and then came back to coach the Gators to a national championship. Now he coaches the University of South Carolina, the team that produced the No. 1 pick in the 2014 NFL draft, Jadeveon Clowney. Co-executive produced by Kenny Chesney and Shaun Silva, “The Believer” reveals the essence of the most competitive man in the most competitive football conference in the nation.
13. It’s Time by Fritz Mitchell - Thursday September 4, 2014 at 8 p.m.
On October 28, 1989, Ole Miss defensive back Chucky Mullins hit Vanderbilt running back Brad Gaines in the back and separated him from the ball. While Gaines was uninjured, Mullins suffered a broken neck on the play, leaving him a quadriplegic. But in that heartbreaking moment, a friendship was born that lasted another two years, until Mullins died of a blood clot in a Memphis hospital room, with Gaines at his side. “It’s Time” will chronicle the inspirational journeys of these two men brought together by tragedy.

29. Before They Were Cowboys by Corey Frost - Saturday, Dec. 31, at 10:30 pm ET.
Before Jerry Jones and Jimmy Johnson teamed up as owner and head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, they were key players on Arkansas' unbeaten national champions in 1964. Examines how their time at Arkansas shaped their futures. Narrated by Trace Adkins.

07/16/2014 - ESPN Films to Debut Slate of Documentaries from SEC Storied Series on New SEC Network

Saturday, June 29, 2013

ESPN Films - SEC Storied - Abby Head On

I watched Abby Head On by Erin Leyden and Gentry Kirby. This is the eighth film in the ESPN Films SEC Storied series. An episode guide for SEC Storied is here.

Abby Head On looks at the career of woman's soccer star Abby Wambach. It traces her career from high school to college to the woman's professional soccer league to the national team. Along the way, Wambach helped the Florida Gators win their first and only national championship, won a title with the WUSA's Washington Freedom and earned two Olympic Gold medals.

The film includes a lots of interviews with coaches and other players including Wambach’s high school, college and U.S. head coaches, current and former teammates including Mia Hamm, Julie Foudy and Alex Morgan, and Wambach’s family.

There is also of a wealth of footage of Wambach scoring goals. As prolific goal scorer, Wambach was known for headers. Today, as a U.S. women’s national team star, she is only four goals away from breaking Mia Hamm’s all-time international scoring record.

It is a solid documentary. It was a story that I nothing about which made it interesting. I was intrigued by the physical transformation of Wambach. Over a soft high school and college player, she become a fit, lean player on the national team.

Abby Head On is available in iTunes.

Friday, June 28, 2013

California Historical Landmark #799

Overland Emigrant Trail
California State Historical Landmark #799

See this location on Yahoo Maps in Flickr
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This plaque is located at southeast side of Wolf Creek Bridge on State Highway 49, 10 miles south of Grass Valley, California. There are 20 other California State Historical Landmarks in Nevada County. The GPS coordinates for this location are N 39° 03.713 W 121° 05.313.

You can log your site to this site at!

The plaque is missing.

Over a hundred years ago, this trail resounded to creaking wheels of pioneer wagons and the cries of hardy travelers on their way to the gold fields. It is estimated that over thirty thousand people used this trail in 1849. Here the old trail approaches the present highway.

California Historical Landmark #799

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Diamond Head Hike

When we were in Oahu, Sharon, Jack and I hiked up to the top of Diamond Head. Using Runkeeper on my iPhone, I logged the hike and then loaded the track into Google Earth. Here are a couple of views of the hike in Google Earth. In the second image, Waikiki Beach is in the upper center part of the picture.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The President is a Sick Man by Matthew Algeo

On the plane on the way back from Hawaii, I started reading The President is a Sick Man: Wherein the Supposedly Virtuous Grover Cleveland Survives a Secret Surgery at Sea and Vilifies the Courageous Newspaperman Who Dared Expose the Truth by Matthew Algeo. I stumbled across the book while wandering through and was intrigued by the description. This is part of my project to read books about all of the presidents.

Cleveland is the only president to serve nonconsecutive terms. He rose quickly from the Mayor of Buffalo to Governor of New York to the President of the United of States. Cleveland was elected president for the first time in 1884, lost to Harrison in 1888 and was elected again in 1892. He is one of only two presidents to win the popular vote more than two times (Cleveland and FDR) and one of only two candidates to win the popular vote, but lose the electoral vote (Cleveland and Gore). He was the second president to marry while in office, and the only president to have a wedding in the White House.

Former President Ulysses S. Grant died a horrible death of mouth cancer in 1885. When Cleveland discovered a growth in his own mouth early in his second term, his physician was sure that it was also cancer. Partially due to the financial condition of the country, Cleveland and his closet advisors decided to have a secret surgery performed. The book explores these events and the aftermath, particularly the efforts that were undertaken to keep the surgery secret.

Although focusing on this event early in Cleveland's second term, the book does provides a good overview of Glover Cleveland. I was surprised to learn that one of the most volatile issues of the 1880s was whether the currency should be backed by gold and silver or by gold alone.

I enjoyed the book; I give it a B+. At some point, I am going to read a more comprehensive biography on Glover Cleveland.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Virtually Biking Across America - Day 61

On day 61, I rode 21.3 miles across Nebraska. Starting just south of the junction of Road 32 and Highway 385, I rode on Highway 385 skirting the town of Sidney and passing the Pole Creek Pony Express Station [41° 8' 58.80", 102° 54' 21.00"]. I finished the ride in the town of Lodgepole. It was a fast downhill ride; I averaged 20.3 miles per hour.

The trip log for Virtually Biking Across America is here.

Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week - Rhye - Open

The complete list of Starbucks iTunes picks of the week is here!
Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week - 6/25/2013 - Rhye [@Rhyemusic] - Open

Code Expiration: September 17, 2013

Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week - Mavis Staples - Far Celestial Shore

The complete list of Starbucks iTunes picks of the week is here!

Code Expiration: September 17, 2013

Monday, June 24, 2013

Game of Thrones - Season Three

Catching up on episodes on the DVR from vacation, I finished watching season three of Game of Thrones. I finished season two in December and season one last October.

While I was shocked in season one at the number of the main characters that they killed off, after three seasons, this has become standard ware. It is interesting how the slaughter of main characters is used to advance the stories. Not having read the books, I have been surprised whenever it has happened.

I enjoyed season three and felt that it was overall a little better than season two. Apparently, season three was the first half of the third book. As a result, the season didn't seem to wrap itself up as well as season two did. There were alot of plot lines that were left hanging. We are going to have to wait nine months for season four...

I am still not sure that I will ever read the books. Based on listening to a number of podcasts, it appears the books go into a lot of detail about the back stories of the families and the history of the regions. My brother-in-law Tom has read the books. I am going to have to explore the subject with him again.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Walbeck Elite Baseball Practice

Almost two weeks ago in his first game back from vacation, Jack pulled an abdominal muscle charging a grounder while playing left field. After being checked out by his pediatrician, he took a week off skipping the game against Hard 90 on Tuesday, a group work out on Thursday and the College Showcase on Saturday.

After he and I threw and ran in the park in Friday night, he felt like he could test it on Sunday. The Walbeck Elite were scheduled to play a double header against MVP. Unfortunately, something got screwed up and MVP didn't show up. Matt took the team to Bella Vista High School for a practice. From Jack's perspective, this was probably the best thing that could have happened. He looked good. Jack said that it only bothered him a little. Hopefully, he is on the road to being full speed again.

As a footnote, I have not played catch with Jack recently. Using his right handed first baseman's glove (I am left handed), I thought that he was going to kill me when we played catch on Friday. I kept thinking that I was going to misplay one of his throws and get seriously hurt. Just more reinforcement of how big and strong he is getting...

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Star Trek: The Motion Picture

Sharon, Jack and I watched Star Trek: The Motion Picture on Friday night. Released in December of 1979, I can remember seeing this film in the theater in Davis (with Kim?). After seeing Star Trek into Darkness last weekend, I am going to start a project to go back and see all of the other Star Trek films in order like we did with the James Bond films.

Frankly, I found this movie pretty slow. There are long segments with the dramatic music showing the USS Enterprise at dock or the ship traveling through the alien cloud. The movie doesn't contain the fast paced action sequences that you get in contemporary movies. While that is not necessarily bad, Star Trek: The Motion Picture feels like it could have been an hour long television episode rather than a 2 hour and 10 minute movie.

I was surprised at how good the original the cast looked. At this point, William Shatner would have been 47.

Star Trek Films

06/21/2013 - Star Trek: The Motion Picture - December 7, 1979
07/03/2013 - Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan - June 4, 1982
Star Trek III: The Search for Spock - June 1, 1984
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home - November 26, 1986
Star Trek V: The Final Frontier - June 9, 1989
11/16/2013 - Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country - December 6, 1991
Star Trek Generations - November 18, 1994
11/15/2014 - Star Trek: First Contact - November 22, 1996
Star Trek: Insurrection - December 11, 1998
Star Trek: Nemesis - December 13, 2002
Star Trek - May 8, 2009
Star Trek into Darkness - May 16, 2013
Star Trek Beyond - July 22, 2016

Friday, June 21, 2013

California Historical Landmark #832

South Yuba Canal Office
California State Historical Landmark #832

See this location on Yahoo Maps in Flickr
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This plaque is located at 134 Main Street, Nevada City, California. There are 20 other California State Historical Landmarks in Nevada County. The GPS coordinates for this location are N 39° 15.776 W 121° 01.011.

You can log your site to this site at!

California Historical Landmark #832

This was the headquarters for the largest network of water flumes and ditches in the state. The South Yuba Canal Water Company was the first incorporated to supply water for hydraulic mining. The original ditch was in use in May 1850, and this company office was in use from 1857 to 1880. The company's holdings later became part of the vast PG&E hydroelectric system.

California Historical Landmark #832

Fresno County Landmarks

California State Historical Landmarks in Fresno County
{GPS Coordinates of Site Location}

@NO. 344 ARROYO DE CANTUA - {36° 14' 50.40", 120° 18' 49.08"}

List of California Counties

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Inferno By Dan Brown

On the plane on the way back from Hawaii, I finished reading Inferno by Dan Brown. This is the sixth Dan Brown book that I have read. I read the Lost Symbol when it came out in 2009 and all of his earlier books in an eighteen month stretch ending in 2004.

After reading Angels and Demons and The Da Vinci Code in rapid succession in the last two weeks, Jack noted that "they are the same book." This is largely true of all four of the Robert Langdon novels. They all involve sequential chase scenes, female accomplices, secret conspiratorial agendas and puzzles.

With the exception of The Da Vinci Code, Brown's books all have of some kind of science theme at their core. Inferno is not exception; it has an unusual Mathusian message woven through the book. In an unexpected twist, the book has what I would characterize as a science fiction ending.

Dante's Inferno (Italian for "Hell") plays an important role in the puzzles in the book. Inferno is the first part of Dante's 14th-century epic poem Divine Comedy.

I particularly enjoy books that intersect with our love of exploring the world. The bulk of Inferno is set in Florence with a quick trip to Venice. Jack, Morgan, Sharon and I spent a couple of days in both Florence and Venice last summer. As the Robert Langdon character moves through Florence and Venice, he covered parts of the cities that we had explored. In particular, there is a scene on the balcony of St. Mark's Church in Venice. Jack and I wandered the balcony and saw the stones horses when we were there. There is an interesting section in the book about the history of the stone horses. The book ends somewhere we have not been, but I would be interested in exploring.

In spite of the its formulaic plot, I enjoyed the book as a light summer read. The Mathusian story line and science fiction ending provide some food for thought. I give the book a "B" grade.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

ESPN Films - Nine for IX Short Film: Coach

In early July, ESPN Films is starting a new film series called Nine for IX about women in sports produced by women. As part of this series, ESPN has released the award winning short film Coach. The executive producer of the short is Whoppi Goldberg and the director is Bess Kargman.

Nine for IX Short: Coach

C. Vivian Stringer is one of the most prolific coaches in the history of college basketball. She was the first to lead three different schools to the NCAA Final Four (Cheyney University of Pennsylvania, Iowa and Rutgers) and received the highest honor of all in 2009 -- a place alongside Michael Jordan, John Stockton, Jerry Sloan and David Robinson as an inductee into the Basketball Hall of Fame.

Coach Stringer became more well known to the non-sports world in 2007, when the words "nappy headed hoes" were used to describe the group of young women she led, in spite of tremendous odds, to the National Championship game that same year. Perhaps because Stringer is also a mother whose career successes have been intertwined with personal tragedy, her response to the 2007 incident showed she wasn't just a great coach, but the perfect example of grace under fire.

You can find Coach on the ESPN web site at

More about the film at:

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Virtually Biking Across America - Day 60

On day 60, I rode 20 miles across Nebraska. Starting from the Mud Springs Pony Express Station [N41 28 57.6 W103 00 42.6], I rode south towards Colorado on Highway 385. Passing through the small towns of Dalton and Gurley, I ended the ride just south of the junction of Road 32 and Highway 385. As you can see from the Google Streetview, this is very wide open country.

The trip log for Virtually Biking Across America is here.

Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Wee - Olo

The complete list of Starbucks iTunes picks of the week is here!

Test your tactics in this multiplayer game

Code Expiration: September 10, 2013

Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week - Bike Baron

The complete list of Starbucks iTunes picks of the week is here!Starbucks

Code Expiration: September 10, 2013

Monday, June 17, 2013

Father's Day 2013

In the ten plus years that I have been writing in this space, I have only written posts titled "Father's Day" twice. In contrast, there are ten years of Mother's Day posts. Trying to sort out the history, it seems that I have often been away from home or watching Jack play baseball on Father's Day.

After an eight mile run around Ancil Hoffman Park on Sunday, Sharon, Jack and I went to see Star Trek: Into Darkness. At some point, I may start a project to go back and watch all of the Star Trek movies.

After the movie, we had an early dinner at a Mexican restaurant that we had never been to before: El Rosa Blanca.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Da Vinci Code Redux

After watching Angels & Demons on Friday night, the three of us watched The Da Vinci Code on Saturday night. Sharon and I saw the movie in the theater in 2006.

I got the book for Jack on Wednesday and he finished reading it on Friday!

While I have always felt that Angels & Demons is the best of Dan Brown's books, I would have to agree with Sharon that The Da Vinci Code is probably a better movie than Angels & Demons. They spent more time developing the Langdon character and the overall back story than they do in Angels & Demons.

Jack was less exasperated with the changes from the book to the movie than he was with Angels & Demons.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Angels & Demons Redux

On the way to Hawaii, I started reading the latest Dan Brown book, Inferno. Listening to Sharon and I talk about the Dan Brown books, Jack got interested and bought Angels & Demons to read in the Honolulu Airport.

Over the last two weeks, he devoured Angels & Demons and then The Da Vinci Code.

Friday night, we watched Angels & Demons on the AppleTv. I read the book in 2004. Sharon and I saw the movie in the theaters when it came out in 2009.

Having just read the book, Jack spent most of the movie being exasperated by the changes in the plot.

Friday, June 14, 2013

California Historical Landmark #843

North Star Mine Powerhouse
California State Historical Landmark #843

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This plaque is located at the Mining and Pelton Wheel Museum, South Mill at Allison Ranch Road, Grass Valley, California. There are 20 other California State Historical Landmarks in Nevada County. The GPS coordinates for this location are N 39° 12.501 W 121° 04.190.

You can log your site to this site at!


The North Star Powerhouse, built by A. D. Foote in 1895, was the first complete plant of its kind. Compressed air, generated by Pelton water wheels, furnished power for the entire mine operation. The 30-foot Pelton wheel was the largest in the world, and was in continuous use for over 30 years.

California Historical Landmark #843

California Historical Landmark #843

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Halting State by Charles Stross

I finished reading Halting State by Charles Stross on plane to Hawaii. I bought the book after reading Rule #34 by the same author last year. Halting State is a loose prequel to Rule #34 set in the same world with a couple of the same characters.

One of the things that I liked about Rule #34 is how is it was full of ten-minutes-from-now technology, such as 3D printers. The same is true for Halting State. The plot hinges on anonymized digicash, onion routing, hacker attacks on the core router infrastructure of the internet and hands-free, head-mounted intelligent devices that are worn by users as eyewear. Both of the books envision a world where a technology that sounds very much like Google Glass on steroids is ubiquitous.

At its heart, the book is a police detective story set in the world of the software houses that develop massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPG). Set in the People's Republic of Scotland, the main characters investigate a bank robbery carried out by orcs and dragons in the virtual domain of an online gaming company.

One of the odd ideas in the book is that the software houses use smartphones for processing and storage of the multiplayer games. When you think about how much computing horsepower is floating around the world in people's pockets, this is an interesting concept.

The book was one of the finalist for the 2008 Hugo Award. I enjoyed the book and would give it a solid B grade. I liked both of the books enough that I have purchased a third book by the same author which is set in a different world.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Walbeck 4, Yuba City 3

Walbeck Elite 15U take out Yuba City with help from Zach Silvert, 4-3

Zach Silvert went 1-2, sparking Walbeck Elite 15U to a 4-3 victory in seven innings over Yuba City on Monday at Bella Vista High School.
He singled in the first inning.
Yuba City couldn't get anything going so long as Marco Petrucci was on the hill. Petrucci gave up just two hits, allowed no earned runs, walked one and struck out seven during his four innings of work.
Walbeck Elite 15U jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first.  Jack Heringer kicked things off for Walbeck Elite 15U with a single.  A single by Alex Isola then moved Heringer from first to second. Silvert singled, scoring Heringer and Isola. Walbeck Elite 15U then tacked on more runs when Silvert scored on an RBI single by Drew Gross.
Walbeck Elite 15U quickly matched Yuba City's strong inning with a one-run inning of its own in the seventh. Walbeck Elite 15U scored on an error.
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Sunday, June 09, 2013

ESPN Films 30 for 30 Shorts: Cutthroat

07/24/2014 Update: Grantland and ESPN have taken the older 30 for 30 Shorts down from the web site. They are now showing them on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU as 30 for 30 Shorts.

More about the film at:

Grantland and ESPN Films have released the ninth film in their 30 for 30 documentary short series.

30 for 30 Shorts: Cutthroat

Clint Malarchuk was famous for being an NHL goalie, but he would go down in hockey history for suffering one of the most gruesome injuries in the history of sports when an opposing player's skate severed his carotid artery. This story covers Malarchuk's miraculous physical recovery from the injury as well as the long and grueling emotional recuperation that took two decades and included an eventual stay in a mental hospital for PTSD treatment. [Warning: This film contains graphic footage of the injury.]

You can find Cutthroat on the ESPN web site at

Saturday, June 08, 2013

Eileen's Graduation Party

After taking Jack to a Walbeck Baseball Academy 15U Elite practice in the morning, the three of us went to Sharon's brother Tim's house for a graduation party for her niece Eileen. We had gone to her graduation from St. Francis just before we headed to Hawaii.

The group included Tom, Becky, Kevin, Tim, Kathy, Eileen, Lou and Nadine, their daughter and her boyfried, Brun, Kim, Sarah, Velta, Jim Dunn, two of Eileen's classmates and their families.

Friday, June 07, 2013

2013 Hawaii - Day Thirteen - To Sacramento

We had a buffet breakfast at the hotel, packed up the room and were headed to the airport about 8:30 am. We caught a 11:19 am flight from Maui to Honolulu. With a two hour layover, we had a bite to eat. We boarded a 1:59 pm flight to Sacramento. With the time change, we landed a little ahead of schedule about 10:05 pm. We were home a little after 11:00 pm.

A couple of notes from the trip. First, Sharon spent the four days that we were on Maui talking about a bar called Blackie's that she had visited with Paul when she was on Maui 25 years ago. There was a building the right shape in the parking lot of a gas station, but she didn't think that it was the right location. As we were heading to the airport, Sharon googled it on her phone. It was the right building. The area around the bar was sold to a developer and closed in 1995.

Second, When we were in Italy last year, I noted how much bigger and stronger Jack has gotten. I got a little bit of a shock on Friday morning. As we were packing up the room, I turned and literally was standing nose to nose with Jack. As you can see in several of the pictures, he is almost as tall as I am...

Third, I wouldn't go back to Maui. It is too developed: too many people and too much traffic. I can see us going back to Kauai someday; the Gainsleys have a condo there. I can also see us going to the big island someday; the Wallens have a condo there. I am done with Maui...

Thursday, June 06, 2013

2013 Hawaii - Day Twelve - Lahaina

At one point, we had talked about snorkeling around Black Rock on the beach near the hotel, but ultimately decided to take a much mellower approach to the last full day of the vacation.

Sharon went to yoga, while I did my normal treadmill workout (6 miles and 60 minutes) with a view of the ocean.

After getting cleaned up, we headed into Lahaina to wander around and have lunch. Until permanently moving to Honolulu, Lahaina was the capital of the Kingdom of Hawaii. In the 19th century, Lahaina was the center of the global whaling industry with many sailing ships anchored at its waterfront. The town has a number of historical buildings and sites.

Sharon has been reading Michener's Hawaii on the trip. The missionaries in the book landed initially in Lahaina. Sharon wandered through the Badwin House, one of the earliest houses on the islands that was built by the missionaries.

We had a nice lunch at Cheeseburger in Paradise. We all had tropical mahi mahi sandwiches.

After lunch we headed back to the hotel, I spent some time lounging around adult pool with an adult beverage and my book. Sharon eventually joined me. We wandered up the beach to check out a restaurant at the Hyatt Regency called Japengo. It was supposed to have a great view of the Lahaina Harbor, the ocean and the sunset. Liking what we saw, we made a reservation for later.

Sharon, Jack and I finished the night walking back to Japengo and having a nice sushi dinner.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

2013 Hawaii - Day Eleven - Wailea Emerald Golf Course

Since the beginning of the trip, we have talked about playing golf at least once while we were on Maui. Jack and Sharon looked through the books and eventually settled on the Wailea Emerald Course on South Maui. This was about a 35 minute drive from our hotel.

As an aside, Jack named Maui as "the island of much driving." The hotel was about 45 minutes from the airport. The trip around Hana was a 12 hour all day drive. One of the things that I found odd about the Hawaiian Islands was the speed limits. It seemed like the speed limits were very low everywhere compared to the mainland.

We took off early and got there about 9:00 am for a 10:59 am tee time. Sharon spent some time playing an outfit in the pro shop and buying Jack some golf shoes. From there, we headed to the driving range. Jack struggled from the minute he stepped on the driving range. He has not played in a year. I wouldn't let him play during baseball season.

Unfortunately, Jack got worse once we got on the course. Jack melted down in Wallenesque fashion... Both Sharon and I felt bad for him; he had been looking forward to playing so much.

In spite of Jack's struggles, I had a nice round and really enjoyed the course. Using a nice set of rental clubs, I was consistent off the tee. I shoot a liberally scored 53 on the front nine and a 58 on the back nine. I got a birdie on one of the short par threes on the back nine; I hit a pin high 8 iron to within 9 feet and then sank the putt. Sharon putted extremely well and had a nice round.

It was a fairly quick round. We finished playing in about 4 hours 30 minutes.

After getting cleaned up back at the hotel, Sharon and I had a drink at the bar and got some food to take to Jack in the room. While Jack crashed in the room, Sharon and I went to dinner at Roy's. This turned out to be one of the nicest dinners that we had on the trip. I had scallops and risotto, while Sharon had monchong again.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

2013 Hawaii - Day Ten - Road to Hana

Up early, we were out of the hotel room and into the rental car just after 7 am. The plan for the day was to drive to Hana. The road to Hana is without question the most famous drive in all of Hawaii. It is a slow winding road through a lush paradise.

The guidebook suggested that we be through Kahului by 8 am. Over the next four hours, we made a number of stops to explore waterfalls, pools and views. We made a decision to rent a convertible for Maui. It was a great way to experience the road to Hana. We drove down to the ocean on Nahiku Road through the community of Nahiku. We bought some banana bread at a roadside stand. We stopped at Wai'anapanapa Park and explored the black sand beach. We hiked about a mile along the beach and through the lava fields.

We stopped in Hana and had a nice lunch at Travaasa Hana (burger and fish tacos). After lunch, Jack and I explored a red sand beach hidden in a gully below the town.

While lots of people head back the way they came, we had made a decision that we would continue all the way around the island. We stopped at a very nice waterfall along the road and then made a longer stop at the Seven Sacred Pools. We took a quick dip in one of the larger pools. We hiked about a mile round trip to a view of one of the falls farther upstream.

Back in the car, we continued around the island. The road turns pretty rough at this point. It is not paved for about 8 miles. Although it was much drier terrain than the first half of the drive, there were some interesting vistas. Eventually, we got back to a paved two lane road. From there, we had another 1 1/2 hour drive to get back to the hotel. This part was less interesting and I was ready to be done.

By the time we got back to the hotel, it was almost 7:30 pm. We had been gone for more than 12 1/2 hours.

We finished the night with a late dinner near the hotel at the Maui Fish and Pasta Restaurant. I had mahi mahi, Jack had a Kobe burger and Sharon had a light dinner.

Monday, June 03, 2013

2013 Hawaii - Day Nine - Old Liahino Luau

Moving Day... Up about 6 am, we packed up the room and were in the car a little after 7 am heading to airport. We caught a 9:40 flight to Maui. On the ground in Maui, we made a decision to get a convertible for the first time in the trip. More on why in the next couple of days.

We got to the hotel about 12:15 pm. We will be spending the last four days of the trip at the Westin Resort and Spa on Maui. For the first time in the trip, the room was not ready when we got there. They told us that they would call us when the room was ready.

I spent the afternoon in the bar having a couple of beers and watching the Miami Heat destroy the Pacers in the seventh game of the Eastern Conference Finals. Eventually, Sharon got tired of waiting and harangued the front desk for a room. We finally got into our room about 4:30 pm. We will not stay here again.

We had a 5:45 pm reservation for the Old Lahaina Luau. The food was pretty good and I enjoyed the show. The show is viewed as one of the most culturally authentic of any of the luaus in the islands.

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Sunday, June 02, 2013

2013 Hawaii - Day Eight - Snorkeling at Tunnels Beach

Tunnels Beach

Finally sleeping a little later, we got coffee and breakfast from a coffee shop in the hotel. We went to 9:00 am Mass at St. Williams in Hanalei.

The plan for the day is to snorkel at Tunnels Beach. This is highlighted as one of the best snorkeling spots on the island. Stopping for some fish tacos at Tropical Taco, we cruised to the end of the road before turning around and parking off of the beach. We were lucky to find a spot fairly close.

Sharon, Jack and I spent a couple of hours snorkeling. It was good, but not fantastic. The area further out where the reef dropped off were particularly interesting, but Sharon and Jack got spooked by the deeper water and the current.

Heading back to the room in the early afternoon, Sharon and I spend some time hanging out at the pool bar. At one point, it started to pour. In general, we have been very lucky on Kauai; we never really got rained on while we were trying to do something. Given the pace of the last few days, it was nice to have a lazier late afternoon.

Getting cleaned up, Sharon and I watched the sunset from the hotel balcony. Unfortunately, we didn't have a plan for dinner. Working with the concierge, we ended up going to the Tavern by Princeville by Roy Yamaguchi. I was not impressed with the food or the atmosphere. It is definitely not somewhere that I would recommend. Jack and I both had the shrimp scampi.

We ended up crashing fairly early. Tomorrow is moving day and we have to get an early start.

Saturday, June 01, 2013

2013 Hawaii - Day Seven - Kauai From the Air - Waimea Canyon - Koke'e State Park

Finally, a little later morning... Sleeping a little later, we had the buffet breakfast at the hotel. One of the things that Sharon wanted to do on the trip was see Kauai from the air. Sharon reserved a trip with Blue Hawaiian for 11 am. Leaving the hotel about 930 am, we were at the helicopter's office in Lihue about 10:15 am. We got a preflight briefly and were bused to the airport.

I enjoyed the trip a great deal. You got to see the island from a new perspective. In a 55 minute tour, we went by the waterfall used in the opening sequences of the first Jurassic Park movie, through the Waimea Canyon, along the Na Pali Coast and finished up inside the crater of the tallest peak on Kauai. While both Sharon and I enjoyed the trip, we both liked the Na Pali Coast cruise more.

After the helicopter ride, we headed towards the Waimea Canyon. The canyon is 10 miles long and 3,000 feet deep. Sharon drove and we headed up the Waimea Canyon Road. We stopped at a couple of the view points. The views were spectacular. The Waimea Canyon is called the Grand Canyon of Hawaii.

When we reached Koke'e State Park, we stopped at the lodge and museum and asked about a short hike. We ended up doing a two mile hike on the Berry Flat Trail. During the hike, we ran into two groups of Hawaiians with dogs that had radio collars. I asked what the collars were for and got an obtuse answer. Later, we heard some gun shots. When we were walking back to the car, the Hawaiians passed us in the truck with a large boar in the back!

After we hiked, we continued up the road to the viewpoint where you could see down in the Na Pali Coast. Have I mentioned recently, how much I don't like heights?

We finished the night with dinner at Gaylords on the grounds of historic Kilohana Plantation. We had a nice dinner on the verandah. At one point, it started to pour. I had ahi, while Sharon had pork osso boco and Jack had fried chicken. Sharon was not happy with either her or Jack's meal.

Treading our way back to the hotel on the north side of the island, it was almost midnight by the time we got to bed. It was a long ambitious day.