Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Longest Day...Ever

   This day (days) was one for the record books even though everything went fairly smoothly. There was a movie "The Longest Day", well this was ours.
    We were both up and at ‘em shortly after 5 to prepare for our homebound trip. Breakfast was an attempt to use up any food we had left. Interspersed with showers, washing towels, loading the dishwasher etc., was the job of packing. By nine we were done with all of that and were ready to go. Loading the bags into the trunk, I got worried about the big one. Back home, before we started this trip, I weighed it on the bath scales and it was over 60 pounds. This time it felt about the same but I wasn't sure. We didn’t have anyplace else we wanted to visit on Maui and our flight wasn’t until after 2 so I went for a little walk and we both spent some time on the lap tops until we couldn’t take it anymore. A little after 10 we locked up and left. Bye Bye Number 6, bye bye Kihei Holiday. One last pass through town and we went back across the island to the airport. We dropped the car at Thrifty, the girl did a quick walk around, rubbed the bumper and turned us loose.

   At the terminal, Nancy decided she wanted to get some exercise and passed on the chair, opting for the cane instead. Our first task was to pass the big bags we wanted to check through the Ag. Dept. X-ray so they could check for something, vegetation I guess. You can check pineapples and such by the box at no charge but don't try to carry one in your suitcase. That done, we got in line for Hawaiian Air flight from Maui to Honolulu. It looked like the entire island was being evacuated! The line was ENDLESS! We’re not in Traverse anymore. After looping back and forth 4 or 5 times, you finally got to check in and then proceed an even longer line to security. That portion was the equivalent to walking the length of a city block and then half way back again. As we were inching forward, I asked one of the personnel at a different airline if I could slip over to one of their unused check in stations and weigh our bag. Nancy held our place in line and nuzzled the other bags forward while I detoured and weighed. Yep! 54 pounds. I stuffed some clothes into the outer pockets of the garment bag, 45 and 32, good to go.

We made our way to the front of the line, checked in and found a bench upon which we could take a break. While we sat, Nan got into a conversation with a woman with a walker.   When we were rested, the gal told us to follow them up the outside lane. The security people, seeing the cane, waved us on and we were able to pretty much breeze through security although Nancy did have to take her shoes off for the first time this trip.

   We found our gate and a place to sit, I went back for some beverages, a snack, and some smashed pennies with Maui on them. (They are great for caches and they only cost 50 cents a piece.) There were two flights out of gate 13 before ours so we settled in for some serious people watching. We watched the waiting room fill and empty twice. “There are a million stories in” the waiting room. To me the most interesting I observed was a youngish fellow dressed in a muscle shirt, khaki vest, cargo shorts and flip flops who had as his second carry on a canvas bag secured shut with a couple of carabiners. He opened it and removed three watches which appeared to be identical to the one he was wearing. He checked the face of each and swapped out one for the one he was wearing. I think maybe that’s the way he avoids having to change the time as he travels.

   I stopped at the desk between flights to make sure that a chair would be there when we landed in Honolulu. The young lady was great! She not only made sure that it was on the list but she moved our seats closer to the exit and said she would call us for pre-boarding. Our seats were in the next aisle behind first class with plenty of leg room. Not a portent of what was to come. This was by far our best flight of the day. Unfortunately, we were only in the air for 35 minutes.

After a short stop at HNL which included a fast wheel through the terminal we checked into American to DFW on an oversold flight for the next seven hours. Seven Hours! O. M. G.! While we were waiting to board, Nancy pulled up the M game on her phone and learned we were down 16 - 9. She didn’t learn that Denard was out of action. We along with 10 other wheelchairs were preboarded. This guaranteed that we would find a place for our bags, to bad it couldn’t do anything for our legs. The seating made the Eagle seem spacious. Once the chick in front of me slammed her seat back the legroom totally vanished. Every time she wiggled or bounced, she slammed into my bunged up knee. The seating was so uncomfortable that this was the first time that we can remember that Nancy could not snooze. She just flat out could not get comfortable. I even had to empty my pockets on her side because the pressure of the wallet bothered her.

Seven hours! After what seemed like two, it started to get dark outside. I checked my watch, we’d only been in the air for 45 minutes. After another 45 we had to stretch so we got up and used the john. Nancy said it was the most comfortable seat on the plane. We discovered that there was a cruise group of 34 on our plane which accounted for many of the other wheelchairs. Since they all, had spent the past week or so sailing around the islands, they, including the pair in front of us, all knew each other. Many of them wandered about the aircraft checking and chatting with each other. This of course meant that our friends in front of us had to wiggle and twist, turn and bounce as part of their animated conversations. Since it was my right knee and we were on the right side of the aircraft, I couldn't put it in the aisle.

The flight went on for ever! After about hour 5 I finished my book. (An interesting piece of Civil War fiction named “God and Generals”. It relates how the leaders on each side knew each other well, they were often West Point classmates and had served together in the Mexican War. They also, especially the Southern ones, KNEW that God was on THEIR side. There’s not much to read in the seat pockets. Another trip to the john and we soon started our descent into Dallas. Finally we reached the gate and joined the mob going up the ramp where we found seats to wait for the electric handicap shuttle.

Once loaded, the two of us plus six from the cruise group took off through our favorite (not) airport. Up the elevator from D to C where we dropped the cruise group and then on to A for us. When we pulled up to our gate they were already well into the boarding process. No time to buy a new book. Our seats were in the back and we were near the end of the line. The attendant told me to use any available compartment space for our bags so I loaded the small one near the front and took the larger one all the way to the back by the galley. We had the middle and window seats and shared our row with a young Notre Dame fan who promptly zonked out for the entire flight.

The flight was nice. Nancy slept and I skimmed everything in the seat pockets. All the same stuff. Out the window, the sky slowly glowed red as the sun slowly broke the horizon. Since we were going north, it became more and more spectacular. I was torn between waking Nancy and having her take some pictures and letting her sleep. Since at that time we’d been up for more that 20 hours, sleep took precedence. A little less than three hours and we were in Chicago. Three flights down, one to go.

ORD, our favorite airport. It seems like whenever we pass through we land or leave from G20 and our other gate is either H or K 18 or something. This time it was K 15 to G 19. We had to wait for a chair and although Nancy was calm and collected, I was nervous as a cat. I was worried about making our connection but without cause. We had time to spare and even then the flight was delayed about 10 minutes. Soon we were on board and over the lake. An uneventful and successful flight on the Eagle and in less than an hour we were on the ground in TC. We grabbed our bags off the belt, loaded the car and home we go. It’s only been 25 hours since we got up this morning. We turned up the thermostat, lit the wood stove, grabbed a sandwich, took a nap, woke up and discovered that the furnace is not working.  Everything is normal !


Friday, October 26, 2012

Iao Valley

Happy Birthday Tom!

   Today is Tom’s birthday. Dylan celebrated by taking the day off from school. (Actually it was because of Hurricane Sandy.) It is also our last full day on the island.
    We are off to the Iao Valley. It is another extremely scenic site on Maui. Located just to the west of Kahului, a meandering road follows the Iao stream, which cut a gash in the wall of the West Maui crater, up to the State Park. It is a drive through a lush tropical rainforest. This is the area which receives the greatest amount of rain on the island.

 In the park is an Earth Cache of the “Needle”. This feature is a tall rock spire which can best be seen from a viewing platform up a short steep path from the parking lot. It was 90 degrees but I huffed and puffed my way up there and took the required picture. The needle is said to be the phallic symbol of the God Kanola, the God of the Underworld and teacher of magic. There was a battle here when King Kamehameha I was unifying all the islands under his rule. The battle was so bloody that is is reported that the bodies of the dead damned up the stream.

   It is Friday, my day to talk to Doug at 5. But let’s see. If Monday night football comes on at 2, then 5 is at 11, right? We drove to the Maui Plantation so Nancy could snoop and shop while I gabbed. In the process of sliding into a parking slot in the lot, I thunked the bumper of a gigantic puck up. I got out and checked the damage, the truck was fine, our car had some dirt/abrasion on the bumper and some body work exposed over the side trim. A sharp rap with the heel of my hand and it popped back into place. I talked to Doug for about 45 minutes while Nan bought some presents for the daughts.

   We then went after a few caches and looked for lunch. Nuvi was less than no help! We got lost and drove around in circles but finally spotted the mall we ate at yesterday. We picked a different place, enjoyed our meal and then drove back over to Ho'okipa Iki for one last look at the surfers. The action was much better today, higher waves which were breaking much farther out. A fitting farewell.

Caching in a hillside park in Kahului
Kahului with the ocean in the background.
   Back to #6 to use the laptops. I made sure the GPS had batteries and walked up the beach for one last cache. This time I made my return trip along the beach as well.

I wanted to remember the color of these flowers near our condo - wow!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Road to Hana

   We got out early today because we are driving to Hana. Not only is the road to Hana described as the most beautiful in the State, we have a specific goal. About 35 years ago when we first came here, we used the CD from Snorkel Bob's that Dave and Beth had loaned to us.. You play it as you go along and it describes what to look at and where to stop, get out and hike. If you follow it in its entirety, the trip lasts from 5 - 8 hours. At the end of that first trip, we stopped at Hana’s Hasegawa General Store and among other things I bought a T shirt. The shirt proclaimed the town’s motto, “Far From Waikiki”. Like many of my items of clothing, over the years it seemed to shrink and get a little smaller and tighter each year until it got to the point where I was no longer permitted to wear it. Our goal on this trip was to get a new one. We passed up the CD, we seem to be past the park and hike phase, this trip will be drive and look.

   The Hana Highway runs a little more than 50 miles from Kahului to Hana and like the road up to Lahaina, hugs the shoreline between the base of the mountain, in this case Haleakala, and the sea. Unlike the drive up the western side of the island, the eastern side is a tropical rain forest. The road has over 600 curves, many of which are hairpins with the caution sign set a 5 MPH. There are about 60 bridges most of which are only one lane. The signs on the approach warn you to yield to approaching traffic. The problem is that the curve is often so sharp that you are practically looking behind yourself to see the traffic coming in the opposite direction. Two things I found amusing about the road were; the route number, it changes from 32 near Kahului to 360 after you pass the town of Paia, I found that number more appropriate, although you never do go through a full 360 turn. The second thing that struck me as amusing is that, although the speed limit on the highway is 15, it is 30 in town.

   Our first stop was the surfing beach at Ho'okipa Iki. This is one of the best surfing spots in the islands. While perhaps not as spectacular as Oahu’s north shore, the park has an overlook which is fantastic. Only board surfers were out when we were there because they have established rules which restrict the wind and kite surfers to the afternoon.We spent quite a while there, found a cache, enjoyed the scenery and then drove on. The traffic wasn’t too bad and we were in no hurry. If someone came up behind us, I just pulled of at the first opportunity and let them past.

   In Hana, we found that the store we knew had burned down a few years ago and was instead located in a different building. This one
was even more decrepit that the old one.

We bought a couple of shirts and some snacks, talked to the cashier and then continued south to the Seven Pools. The National Park has expanded their facilities in the area with a Visitor Center, rest rooms and picnic grounds. The road beyond here was very chancy in the past. On one of our trips, because the regular car rental companies banned using their cars back here, we rented an old beat up 4x4 Geo Tracker to make the drive which involved narrow gravel roads and one spot where you had to drive through a shallow creek.

   The Park Ranger told me that all that was changed, that the road, while still gravel in places, was much improved and graded and that the old ford was now a wide bridge. He further stated that people drove through there with rentals all the time. A full circle sounded good to us because at this point it was shorter to push on rather than turning back. We got an other chuckle when we realized that the road, when the paving resumed, was the same one Nuvi had put us on on Tuesday.

   We drove back to Kahului looking for another late lunch/early dinner. Nancy spotted a likely place in a strip mall. We turned into the parking lot behind a nice shiny pick up truck. Seated in the bed of the truck, just behind the cab were two young ladies, long blonde hair blowing in the wind, sitting in folding lawn chairs while two young men occupied the passenger compartment. Now we get uncomfortable when we see people letting their dogs ride in the back of the truck. This situation had us flummoxed. It was 96 degrees that day but we didn’t think this was the best or safest way to treat your girlfriends. We ate at Ruby’s Diner. It was a fifties style place, very white interior decorated with Pan Am Airline posters.

   After we ate we drove back across the island to #6 and took a break. Logged our finds, played some WOW and relaxed. Looking at the map, I realized that if hadn't taken the drive along the coast south from Kiihei, and since we still had a little go left in us, we decided to go for it. We found some great beaches and since they were on a stretch of road that dead ended eventually, they were mostly used by the locals. One of them had a cache put out by a couple who dedicated it to their wedding. They had been married there in 2007. Since that was our 50th, we decided to grab it. As we pulled into the parking lot, I saw a guy with a tall narrow round drum type thing getting out of his car. On the other side of the parking lot there was a fellow with a large professional type TV camera. While Nancy waited in the car, I walked down the path toward the beach to find the cache. As I was preparing to sign the log book, here came those folks down the path. With them were a few other folks including a young fellow in a dark blue suit and a gal in a long white wedding dress. I guess it really is a good spot for a wedding.

We decided that incident was a fitting end to a long and rather exciting day so we went home and crashed.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Old Lahaina Town

Cache Location

View from our table - lunch at Cheeseburger in Paradise

We sent Tom a coconut postcard - belated birthday!

For this morning’s walk, I decided to go north. There is a cache along the beach less than a mile that way. I grabbed the GPS, stuck it in my pocked and left #6. In the parking lot were three of the full time residents heading across the road carrying their paddle boards. The sea was calm so they were just out for a paddle. I walked up the beach a ways and turned on the GPS unit, or at least I tried to. It turned out that it had run out of batteries. Oh well, I just had a nice walk. I was not alone. Other senior citizens and dog walkers were enjoying the beach this morning as well.

When I’d gone far enough, I decided to cross the street and check out the residences up close and personal. All of the structures were either low rise condo’s or collections of cottages surrounding a central court. They look as though they were all built in the 50’s and 60’s. As I strolled along gawking, I was not concentrating on my feet and managed to stumble on some loose pavement. Wham! I did a face plant. No serious damage done except some abrasion to my right leg and knee. As I sat up and then got up, I was happy that it hadn’t happened yesterday on the edge of the crater.

Back at the “Holiday” we had some breakfast and then set out for our days goal, the town of Lahaina. It’s just a short run up route 30 which follows the curve of a mountain along the ocean but the drive has spectacular views and the town has a lot of memories for us. It’s where we have stayed on our previous trips. Along the way we want to find a number of traditional caches that we can place some of our coins in. We have one named Hawaii, one named for Maui, one named “Mission Accomplished” and a couple of others. The problem was finding a cache with a container big enough for a coin that would not require a substantial hike to find.

Our first find was right along the highway in a small park and ride lot. The description indicated that there were trackables in it so we thought maybe we’d trade. It turned out to be a small cardboard box inside a zip lock tucked in the end of the guard rail.

Here is our log for that cache:
This is the first time we've seen this type of container but it met our needs. Back in 2007, we created a coin for our 50th wedding anniversary. We established a goal of launching a coin series named for each of the states. We came over to Maui because Hawaii was the only state we were missing and so we were out today on a quest to find a cache that would hold our Hawaii coin. We found the box, traded pathtags, left our card and flashlight and sent our Hawaii coin on its way. Good luck little fellow. There was no other trackable in the cache.

A most unique cemetery at the beach in Lahaina.
This baby will grow up to be a surfer for sure.

Our next stop was at an overlook just off the road. There were two caches here, a virtual named “Why Papa” and a traditional which had some travelers logged into it. It was named “Cliff Edge Redux”. While Nancy worked on the questions for the virtual, I went past the railing and down the trail to the other one. Remembering my morning mishap, I borrowed her cane for this jaunt and proceeded extremely cautiously. The cache was not just at the edge of the cliff, I considered it to be a bit over the edge. I almost decided to give it a pass but after a bit of study, I saw the best route. The climb back to the parking lot was a bit of a struggle and when I reached it I got a frosty reception from the spouse. The bottom line is that she believed that I had been “reckless". I couldn’t argue much. That was my last serious excursion. I logged it as follows:
In 2007 we created a coin for our 50th anniversary and decided to drop one in each of Michigan's 83 counties. Upon successfully finishing that goal, we set as our next task to drop one in each state. We came here this fall to launch our Hawaii coin. We found the virt up at the top and then, using Mrs Bends cane, creakily made my way down to this cache. The final drop was intimidating for a geezer who only this morning tripped and fell over my own feet. I made the final drop on my belly like a 6 year old and scored the cache. Took nothing, left our card, pen, and a signals TB. We also launched new coin named for this spot - Maui Wowie. There were no other trackables that I saw in the cache .

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Fiftieth State Cached!

Here's a successful cacher standing on the edge of the world.

    We got up this morning early. It may be 5 o’clock here but it’s 11 in the real world, it’s even 7 a.m.out in San Diego. While Nancy showered, dressed and logged on to WOW, I decided that I would walk the beach. There was a cache in a park about 3/4 of a mile south of us so I thought I’d go take a look. I didn’t want to “find” it because finding our 50th state should be a joint effort. I just wanted to make the eventual find easier. It was a nice warm morning. On the beach were a number of individuals, mostly young women, who were sitting in a trance like position which I assumed to be Yoga. Out in Maalaea Bay (you pronounce it, I can’t) there were a few wake boarders and about 5 of the 8 person Hawaiian canoes. There is a club in the town that seems to practice every morning. I walked along down to the park. It is a tribute to Capt. Vancouver who apparently landed here either on his way to or from British Columbia. I gave it a pretty good search but came up empty. The GPS was putting me in a good spot for a hide but I saw nothing. When I got back to #6 I looked up the recent logs and saw that it hadn’t been found since July.

   We had breakfast in the unit and then mounted up for our trip to the top of Mt. Haleakala. Nancy loaded the coordinates for the condo into our Nuvi in case we needed it and we were off. We drove back across the island and I figured that before we began the climb, we ought to grab some beverages. Seeking a Macland, naturally I got lost. Nuvi didn’t have a clue. We did find the port at the end of the road.

Well, onward and upward, One thing about driving up a mountain, the road will be twisty and turny.. One of the attractions of Maui is to drive up to the top to watch the sunrise. Many tourist folk combine it with a bike ride. There a quite a number of companies which provide bike tours down the mountain. They form a group of 10 or 12 with a guide leader to keep you from going too fast and a follower so they don’t lose anybody. The only complaint I heard was that their wrists and hands got tired from constantly squeezing the brakes. We saw at least ten different groups on their way down as we were going up.

The drive is spectacular. As you climb, the views are more and more breathtaking. We saw a bird along the road, bright purple. I thought it might be the Nene, Hawaii’s state bird, but when I described it at the visitor center I was told that it was a pheasant.

Our goal was a Virtual Cache named “Haleakala Glory”. The description said it was a short walk from parking on an easy trail. We parked the car, took a look at the trail and decided that this would be a solo trip. It was a trail cut into the side of a volcanic crater, lots of uneven ground covered with loose rocks and many steps up and down. Also the “short” walk turned out to be just under a mile round trip. Just to add to the adventure, the altitude was just over 8000 feet. I was short of breath.

 Anyway, the lookout point was reached, the answers to the required questions were found, pictures of the crater and the clouds were taken, and we had what we needed for a cache in our fiftieth state! Hooray! This is what we came for. Virtual and Earth Caches however do not have a container and so we still need to find some traditional physical caches in which to launch our coins.

This is the log I posted for this cache:
Premium Member 
Found it 10/23/2012   
   YEEHAW!!! We can't begin to say how much this cache means to us. Getting to Maui was a challenge, flight delayed, then cancelled, resulted in a sprint to the gate at LAX just as the last flight of the day was pushed away. But we're here and our goal for today is the summit of Haleakala. We saw this cache and went for it. The short walk on rough terrain at 8000 ft. was a challenge for a couple of flatland geezers. It was well worth the effort! The view is spectacular and this is our first Hawaiian cache. For our 50th anniversary we designed a coin and established the goal of placing one in a cache in each of Michigan's 83 counties. After completing that task, we decided to find a cache in each state and DC. This cache finishes that quest. Our Hawaii coin will just visit here today and will find a container tomorrow. Thanks for establishing and maintaining this cache. When we started 10 years ago, there were many virtuals and few micros. Times have changed. (And not for the better) Mail with answers sent to the owner.

Monday, October 22, 2012

We Have Achieved Maui !

   Fortunately we were up and ready when the call came in the morning at 5:30 that our ride was waiting. In the van was a collection of other folks who had been scheduled on our flight. One couple were on their honeymoon. We were dropped off at American, a quick check in, the chair was ready, breezed through security and we were at the gate with plenty of time to spare. I went down the concourse to pick up coffee and a breakfast sandwich (voucher $14).

   While waiting for our flight to be called, I phoned Capital One. I listened to the choices and finally was connected to a person. I told my story and was forwarded to another person, I went through my story again and was again told I was being forwarded. Total silence. No music, no dial tone, silence. I hung up and tried again. Same results, pick a number, operator to second operator to third operator to silence.

I went up to the counter to make sure we'd have a chair on Maui. The gal changed our seats to row 3 and told us we would be called for pre-boarding. I tried Nancy's phone, at each step I explained what had happened, same result.

Our plane was called. The flight was great. When we landed there was a gal waiting with a chair. She had three passengers to take care of but we were first. She was also the baggage agent and she had our checked bags. They had made the flight yesterday. So we got our bags and she took us to the Thrifty shuttle. I checked with their desk and someone had extended our car's wait time to 48 hours so all was good.
A warm, windy welcome to Maui.

   While Nancy waited with our luggage, I checked in at the Thrifty office, picked up the car, loaded the bags and we were on our way across the island to our home for the week, a condo development called Kihei Holiday.

   We found our parking spot and took our bags into unit 6. We explored the place and found it came up a little short of its description. It was advertised as having 1 1/2 baths but we only found 1. We were told we would have a view of the Pacific from our patio but what we had was a view of the folks on the balconies on the other side of the parking lot who had a view of the sea. But hey, we aren't going to be here that long and it does have wi-fi so we don't care.

   After getting squared away, we take a run about town and look for a place to have Linner. We find a sports bar named Diamonds and at 2:20 in the afternoon we eat while watching the Lions play the Bears on Monday Night Football. The time change is going to take a bit of adjustment. Back at #6, Nancy fires up the wi-fi and helps me log in. I discover that my power cord has died but I can use hers to recharge overnight.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

To Maui ToMorrow?

   This is our day to go to Maui.

   We will fly the Eagle around 2 p.m. for a short flight from San Diego to LAX, transfer to American for our Maui flight arriving by 8 p.m., pick up our car and spend the night at the Kihei Holiday in condo 106.

    We have time to drive through and explore San Diego Old Town, have lunch and get to the airport with plenty of time to spare. Old Town is a gentrified area which used to be a warehouse district. It is loaded with restaurants. Picking one was not easy. The winner was Jim Croce's. We had a relaxed lunch and then Tom dropped us off at the airport with plenty of time to check in and clear security . Had we known what our future had in store for us, we'd have had him take us to LAX.

    We checked our bags in, picked up our boarding passes, went through security and stopped at the little snack area for a beverage and some stuff for the plane. After about a half hour, we heard our names called and went to the counter. They told us the plane was delayed and we had to go back downstairs to pick up our checked bags and catch a shuttle if we were to make our next flight in LAX.

    After some delay, we joined a half dozen other folks in a van to Los Angeles. The driver apparently spoke no English. He was on the phone quite a bit of the trip speaking Spanish. He dropped us off at the terminal quite a ways from the American check in. I guess we should have known that we had to go to the Eagle desk but we didn't and no one told us. After trying to talk to the American folks, we wound up at Eagle and had our bags checked and were told to go up the escalator and get in line for security. I asked about a chair and the supervisor person told us "You don't have time!" We went up and got in line. I asked the folks ushering us about a chair and they said they'd check. About 10 minutes later we got one. The fellow was great. He pulled us out of line and expedited our trip through security and on to our gate.

As we arrived, we saw an aircraft pushing away. It was our flight. The gals at the desk were great. They gave us boarding passes for the next morning flight, vouchers for hotel rooms, vouchers for meals and sent us down to the special shuttle which would take us to the Crowne Plaza. There was one just up the street but we drove right past it and on to the one in San Pedro, 30 minutes away. We checked in, the room was nice, we went to dinner, it was fine, the voucher covered $24.

We noticed a couple at a nearby table who had their bags with them. I overheard enough to get the impression they were in the same boat. It turned out that they were indeed. They also were going to Maui from San Diego. They told us they had called for the morning shuttle to pick them up at 5. We'd planned on 6 but figured that if that was when the van was going to be here, we'd better be on it. I called the service from our room and they knew nothing about a 5 o'clock shuttle, it was coming at 6.

The other problem I had to work on was our rental car. I had rented it through Capital One using the rewards program. They went through Travelocity to arrange for a car from Thrifty. The paperwork said that they would hold the car until 11 AM Monday, we weren't going to get in until after 1 o'clock. I called Thrifty in Kahului. They couldn't do anything, I'd have to call their main office. Thrifty central referred me to Travelocity. I tried Travelocity, they sent us to Capital One which was closed for the weekend. Oh well tomorrow is another day.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Game Day

   Saturday we had Tom all to ourselves. He took us down to see the ocean. A combination of poor weather and fatigue kept us from a stroll but we had a chance for some fun views.

We had lunch served by a very animated waitress who reminded us of the one we call “The Gusher” at the Omelette Shoppe.

We returned to Tom’s and settled in for the game with State. Michigan never scored a touchdown. After a scoreless first quarter, we kicked a couple of field goals and led 6 - 0 at the half. In the third quarter, State put together a drive that resulted in a 7 - 6 lead. The Blue came back in the fourth with another kick to lead 9-7. All we had to do was shut them down. And we did, we pinned them deep and forced a punt, except it was a fake and the punter picked up the first down. They drove the length of the field before we stopped them but their kicker, after missing one earlier, nailed a chip shot for a 10 - 9 lead with less than 6 minutes to go. Following the ensuing kick off, our drive stalled and with about 3 to go, we punted to them and barring a miracle, the game was over and the Spartans had their 5th straight victory over us. But wait! There’s more! It’s not over ‘till it’s over.

Using our time outs and a solid defense, we held them and forced a punt with just about 2 minutes to play. Denard took us down the field and with just about 5 seconds left, our kicker nailed one from just outside the 20 and we had the victory 12 - 10. WOW!

Oct. 20, 2012

vs. Michigan State
W, 12-10
Date:Oct. 20, 2012
Location:Michigan Stadium
Time:3:30 p.m. ET
Gibbons Kicks Wolverines Past Michigan State, to 900th Win

 Let’s go have dinner to celebrate and pack up for tomorrow's trip to Maui!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Thanks, Kevin and Amy

   Friday we both took a walk. Nancy explored the neighborhood. Apparently there is a termite problem in some of the units and they were enshrouded in these huge covers which look like giant balloons or circus tents.

    I fired up the GPS and hiked off across the Ted Williams to find the nearest cache.

    For lunch, we stayed close and went up the road to the closest strip mall and ate at Wings - N - Things. No more exploring. At the table next to us a group of about 8 guys were playing cards. The faces on the deck looked like Tarot cards. There seemed to be a lot of laughter involved. I guess this is how they spend their lunch hour, no Mountain Bikes for them.

Friday night ranks as the highlight of our San Diego stop. We had dinner with Tom, Kevin, Amy, Maya and our newest great-great-grand niece, Ella. Maya chose the location, she said it was her favorite place. We stopped over at Kevin’s house and met the baby. She’s very cute but let’s face it, she’s a tiny baby. Personality will take a while.

 Maya is the star of the show! She played the piano for us and showed us her room. She is definitely a little Miss Personality Princess.

At the restaurant - Chin, we ordered and ate family style. Maya ordered the appetizers and her favorite dish and we all pitched in. While waiting for our food, Maya switched between showing me how to play games on the iphone and crawling on Uncle Tom. I’m not sure who was enjoying it more.

We also had a chance to chat with Kev and Amy and catch up on their work, their folks, their health, and of course a little talk about THE GAME coming up tomorrow. It was a fun evening and we took a pass on returning to their home after dinner because the old man was having trouble stifling yawns.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Darn You, NuVi

   Thursday morning Tom was off to work and we had cereal and just hung out. We read on our laptops and watched programs that Tom had recorded on his TV. We talked about lunch and I pulled up a map. Yesterday while Tom was bringing us home from the airport, I realized that 20 years of life in Traverse had not prepared me for California Interstates. Sure, I’d driven them before, just a couple of years ago in fact, but I was just not comfortable with the idea.

   There is the small town of Poway just a ways east of Tom that looked good. I figured we'd just plug it into our Nuvi which we’d brought with us preloaded with geocaches. Just plug it in and cruise on over. The vehicle we had was Tom’s Porsche because he had put his bike on the Subi so he could go for a ride at lunchtime. We sometimes chuckle about the Porsche because back when he was in High School, we had a CJ 7 rag top. When Tom first saw the price of a Porsche he was shocked “Why would you buy that? If I had that much money I would buy two jeeps!”

   The first time we came out to visit, Tom had given us the keys to the Porche and a paper with turn by turn directions for a ride through some mountain roads. It was great, all went well. Sure it’s a stick but so is our Jeep. Well, things didn’t go quite as planned. First, the Nuvi had some roads on it but for the most part, without names. Also - no place names. I figured out later that if I’d selected a cache in Poway and told it to go there, we would have had some turn by turn directions. Well we can figure this out.

    We pulled out of Tom’s development and I turned the wrong way. Instead of going east, we were going west. By the time we realized what I’d done, we were on the Ted Williams Freeway. I pulled off to turn around but there was no entrance going east. We drove around talking about buying a map but I just got back on and went further west until we spotted an exit with an overpass. In this process, I also discovered that first gear in the Porsche is very touchy and so is the clutch. In the Jeep, I can start out in second but not in this baby. Also, once you stall it out, you must shut everything down to engage the starter. Luckily, all my shifting screw ups occured in parking lots where we had plenty of time and space to work things out. Anyway, I made the turn and we were soon back in the proper direction and made it to Poway.

   Now, where to eat? We drove through a parking lot and spotted a place called the Chicken Pie Diner. Neat place, so thoroughly American. We were some of the few folks who were not greeted by name. After lunch, we drove around a bit but did not feel comfortable exploring a lot or going after caches. Back at Collage, we hung out until Tom got home, talked about our day and went in search of Mexican. We wound up at Rene’s Mexican Grill and Cantina.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

California, Here We Come

   Our October excursion to Maui really began back in 2007 when we designed and had produced a Geocaching coin to commemorate our fiftieth wedding anniversary. The cost and minimum number required increases with each additional attribute that is added to the basic coin. A few more to make it trackable a little more for gold, and quite a little more to give it an icon which will show up in the profile of each person who logs it as a find. We decided to go whole hog and so the bottom line is that we wound up with more than 200. What to do with them? People trade them, collect them, sell them, and place them in caches. When you start a coin on its journey, you can name it, tell its story, and give it a mission. We decided to find a cache in each of Michigan’s 83 counties and place a coin in it named for that county. That was a fun quest but by the fall of 2008, we had accomplished it. Now what?

   What the heck, why not one for every state? We cached on our way to Florida for Christmas with detours to the west of I 75 on the way south and to the east on the way home. We expanded our route on the way to DC and made side trips on our way to San Diego. We made longer trips to circle New England and to visit Yellowstone. We took a cruise to Alaska with the Sniders and visited the “Original Stash” in Oregon while we were at it.

    The life of the coins varies, about 1 in 4 is pocketed by someone and is never heard from again. the distance they have traveled varies from 0 to over 6000 miles. It is fun to place them and it is also fun to track their travels.

   With 49 states and the District taken care of, only Hawaii was left for us to visit and drop off a coin. We decided to combine our trip with a stop in San Diego to visit Tom, see his remodeled dwelling, and visit with Kevin, Amy, Maya and Ella, the newest addition to the family. We got tickets to leave TC on the 17th.

   The flight was on American Eagle, scheduled for 7:45 a.m. so we had the car packed the night before, got up at 4, were at the airport at 6, checked in and were alone when we went through security. (That never happened again.) The flight was on time, we were in Chicago at 7:35 and there was a wheelchair waiting. The porter took us through the terminal with a chair in each hand from G20 to H15. We had time for a snack and were in the air by 9. We were on the ground in San Diego by 11 and gathered our bags. Tom picked us up in his Subi and it was off to lunch at Marie Callender’s just up the street from his house. He had to go back to work and we just crashed. For dinner we tried to find a Mexican place that Nancy liked but it was closed. We did Asian instead.

Monday, October 08, 2012

The Aftermath

The ex Brown Bridge Pond, a sea of muck and stumps.


What the water did to the steel beams

Muck and stumps

The boardwalk all akimbo

Boardwalk with muck and standing water.

Muck city

Flattened bushes and debris on the river bank

Landing on riverside deck


The line between leaves and no leaves is the high water mark in front of our house.

The island was totally inundated.  Notice the high water mark on the tree trunks

Close up of high water mark on island

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Flood and Evacuation

FROM:Richard Steiger
TO:Laurie, Chip & Dylan Tom Steiger Jana Steiger
Message flagged Saturday, October 6, 2012 10:47 PM

Well this has been an interesting day.

Our only plans for today were to play computer games, putz around the yard, go to Sam's Club to pick up a few things, and watch Michigan vs the Boilermakers.

The weather was weird. Sunny for a time and then cold rain. At some times it was sleeting but then it was bright and sunny again.

After playin' and prunin' we were preparing to go shopping when the tsunami siren sounded. In the past, we have gotten a postcard warning us when they planned to test the siren but not this time. Soon, our phone rang and our neighbor informed us that the Brown Bridge dam was breached and we were under a flood warning. However, he had been told that it would take 3 - 4 hours for the flooding to reach us. It was about 11 so we decided to have lunch, see what developed and if it didn't look serious, we'd go to Sam's and then come back home to watch the action. By noon, there was no sign that anything was happening so we headed out.

We did our shopping along with about half the town. It is Saturday after all. It took us longer than we had planned. After checking out, we loaded the car and drove to Chum's Corners, and turned left down the hill to River Rd. As I made the turn onto River, a State Police car came past the line of cars waiting to turn onto Keystone toward me. I pulled off on the shoulder to let him pass but he pulled over to block me. We were told that River Rd was closed and that people were being evacuated. I explained that we lived here and we at least wanted to go home to lock up and grab some clothes in case we had to spend the night. He gave us permission and pulled out of the way.

We had the road to ourselves until we got to the Blair/East Bay Twp. line, about a half mile from home. There, the Blair Twp EMT truck sat with lights flashing, blocking the road. I explained that we wanted to get home to lock the house. Their orders were that no one could drive past. Fine! I pulled a U turn, parked by the side of the road, left Nancy in the Rav and walked. I mean, what are they going to do? Arrest me? Well, maybe.

I walked homeward as fast as I could, crossed over to the tracks and when I got to our drive, there was a Sheriff's car waiting for me. I was out of breath but explained once again what my mission was. He agreed to allow me to lock the house but he had to go with me. I made a quick pass, locking the place, I didn't grab clothes, foo foo, or anything other than a laptop and the Jeep keys. The Deputy let me walk up to the barn to get the Jeep and then followed me out to the road. I drove back to Nancy and we decided to meet in the library parking lot to decide what to do. We decided to leave the Jeep there and check out someplace where we could watch the game. The news on the radio was that the area had been evacuated and would probably remain closed until morning.

Last spring when there was a major power outage because of a storm, folks were driving to Kalkaska and Cadillac to find rooms so we decided we'd better grab one if we could. The first place was full but they checked for us and found us a room at the Comfort Inn. We checked in and then went to Target to pick up skiv's and toiletries to get us through the night. Back at the motel, we watched the Blue come through and then at half time found out on a news program that the evacuation was lifted and that we could go home if we wanted to.

But first, the second half. Denard had an outstanding day. In addition to passing for over 100 yards, he ran for 235 and set the rushing record for QB's in the Big Ten. Final score - M 44 P 13.

 Go or stay? Lets discuss it over dinner. We've paid for the room but Nancy pointed out that, except for those we watched in our living room, that was the least expensive game we've seen in years. We decided to get the Jeep and head south with both cars to see if we could in fact go home. When we got to the River Rd./Sleights Rd. intersection, River Rd was blocked by a barricade but it was unmanned so we just drove around it. It was dark when we got home and unpacked so we're not sure what things look like. Nancy saw in her headlights that Barker's place was surrounded by water and I took a flashlight and saw that the boardwalk has been displaced. We did get some flooding but I'm guessing not more than 3 - 4 feet.

 A full inspection will have to wait until morning.