Showing posts with label adventure travel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label adventure travel. Show all posts

Friday, February 15, 2019

Travel ~ When Mother Nature and the Travel Gods Clash

Time flies whether you are having fun or not.
-- Mary Engelbreit

The Travel Gods and Mother Nature are not in agreement  – you might even say, they are having a major clash in some parts of the world.

And wouldn’t you know? We’ve been in two of those places in recent weeks and experienced the clash first-hand. In fact I am writing this from one of those places now. . .

Off to sand and sun and tropical temperatures. . .maybe 
[For those new to our blog: January/February is when we leave our ex pat life in Greece and spend a month in our Hawaiian timeshare condo. After more than a decade of making this annual sun-and-sand escape to O’ahu from the U.S. Pacific Northwest, we’ve continued to keep this tradition alive by traveling from Greece.] 

Clouds were always somewhere on the horizon - Blood Moon
With the addition last fall of a new home base in Washington State, this year’s travel plan had us flying from Greece to Hawaii via Seattle. By doing that we could squeeze in a trip to our new place in eastern Washington as we made our way back to Greece.  

And we all know what can happen to even the best laid travel plans - especially when the travel gods and Mother Nature aren’t getting along. (I've also been reminded why hotels, when asking you to evaluate your stay, also ask you to rate the weather. Weather is a major factor when traveling.)

Wind and waves were strong - Ko Olina

Part 1: Mid - January ~ Hawaii

While in the taxi from the Honolulu airport, we had a foreshadowing of what was to come when our driver explained that a ‘cold front’ had arrived just ahead of us. It brought intermittent stiff breezes, rain and lower than usual tropical temperatures. We did have some nice periods of sunshine but always commented it was a 'bit cooler' than previous visits.

Plenty of lounge chairs on those chilly days
The real surprise was that the cold front settled in for the four-weeks we were there. . .in fact it is still there. It snowed in Maui this week and there were heavy rain and flash flood warnings on O'ahu issued as I was writing this post. 

Wind gusts uprooted a tree the day we left Ko Olina
The good news is that the winds and waves didn’t really kick up until after the crew, stars and contestants of  American Idol had come and gone. 

Let the show begin. . .
This popular talent-search show filmed a segment in late January (to be broadcast on March 3rd in the States). It was a flurry of activity for a day or two at Ko Olina, the resort on the west side of the island where our interval home is located.

But as if on cue, as the crews finished dismantling the stage and supporting structures, the winds picked up and heavier clouds appeared and kept making cameo appearances.

Storm clouds often ate our tropical sunsets
We don’t recall a time in recent visits that we’ve turned off interior fans and air conditioning but we definitely did this trip. The heavy rain – we had a few showers -- thankfully held off until the weekend we left. Sunday morning, as we departed, sandbags lined our open-air lobby and staff worked to keep the chandeliers braced against the wind.

 In time, this too shall pass.
            -- Proverb 

Out of the frying pan. . .into ‘Snowmageddon’

You know that old phrase, 'Out of the frying pan and into the fire. . .'?

Our flight from wind-whipped, rain-drenched Honolulu to Seattle – much to this white-knuckler’s amazement – took off despite the gusts bouncing us around for the first couple of hours we traveled over the Pacific. We safely landed nearly six hours later on a runway paved with compacted snow. 

A compact snow carpet greeted us at SeaTac

More than 200 flights were cancelled last weekend at SeaTac. Saturday evening conditions were so bad the airport announced a ground closure – it closed to all incoming flights except those already in the air with Seattle as their destination. Our Sunday evening arrival was to a snow-covered facility, the likes we’ve never seen before in our near 40 years of transiting SeaTac.

‘Snowmageddon’, as the storm was named and forever will be remembered, brought Seattle and most of Washington State to a standstill two days before we arrived. So much snow falling so fast and so late in the season had crews scrambling to clear streets and keep facilities operating. Schools, businesses and government offices basically shut down. Snow accumulations brought down powerlines leaving many without heat or lights for more than 24-hours.
Temperatures were below freezing.

To Go or Not To Go. . . .

The plan had been to head to Lake Chelan on Monday. We’d reserved an all-wheel-drive SUV ‘just in case’ there was snow to be dealt with on the mountain passes we now need to cross to get to our Washington home. Often times in the winter conditions on those passes are so mild that travelers need only heed a warning of 'snow tires recommended'. The two passes Snoqualmie on Interstate 90 and Blewett on Highway 97 are among four used by motorists to cross the Cascade Mountain range.

Luckily we had rented an all-wheel-drive vehicle
Monday morning arrived with news of another storm heading toward the state. To go or not to go  was the question. We weren’t looking forward to a 10-night hotel stay in or near Seattle especially when we have a new home calling out to us from Manson.

Summit - Snoqualmie Pass
We've both driven in the snow – it has just been many years since we had to do so.
The Scout, was driving and cast the deciding vote: We would go. Snoqualmie which was closed for several hours for avalanche control opened just as we reached it. We later learned it closed a few hours after we crossed it and remained so until Thursday morning. It received a record-breaking 31.5 inches of snowfall on Tuesday and a Seattle television station reported:

The pass received 68 inches over the three day period from Sunday through Tuesday -- and an incredible 80 inches (nearly 7 feet!) over the 5 day period from Friday through Tuesday. And it hasn't really let up -- the pass reported an additional 16 inches on Wednesday and Thursday. That makes a full 8 feet of snow in a week!

Streets of Chelan - we had made it home, almost

Road conditions on Blewett pass were also compact snow and ice but it was not closed during the storm.

Home again! Five hours after leaving SeaTac we pulled into our Manson neighborhood. A light snow fell here all day Tuesday. On Wednesday the sunshine was glorious. 

Mother Nature wasn't grumpy on Wednesday - a glorious day at Lake Chelan
We begin our journey back to Greece next Thursday. We'll head back over the passes earlier in the week though as reports are that Travel Gods and Mother Nature just might start throwing punches again next week.

Our road home on Wednesday

As always, we thank you for your interest in our travels and the time you spend with us reading our blog.  Many thanks for recommending TravelnWrite to family and friends – that is the ultimate compliment for a writer!!

Welcome to those new readers! We hope you’ll be regulars. Bear with me as I get back in the swing of the blogosphere. I took a few weeks off while traveling and during that time Google Blogger, has changed its format thus the new look of today's post.

Until next week, safe travels to you and yours ~

For those wanting some back story to references made in this post, follow these links:

Linking this week with other writers and photographers at:
Through My Lens
Our World Tuesday
Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Travel Tuesday: Christmas in July

We meet some of the most interesting people when we travel.

Many times, it is while sitting at a bar during Happy Hour.  Like that evening in Hawaii . . .

 VegasHawaii2012 309Doug and Carla Scott, were sitting a couple bar stools away from us one evening at  Chuck’s Restaurant on the Ko Olina property on the western shores of O’ahu, Hawaii. 

While sipping our Happy Hour Mai Tai’s, I overheard Doug  tell someone they were sailing to Fiji.

Because we are heading that way ourselves this fall, I asked about the cruise line they’d be taking.

Silly me!  These people are sailing themselves to Fiji.

As is the case when strangers, who share a passion for travel meet, the conversation continued long past Happy Hour.

HeivaDougCarla (1)
Doug and Carla Scott
These two nautical vagabonds met and married in Oregon. In fact, the first time they sailed together was on the Columbia River. Then their work lives took them to landlocked Albuquerque, New Mexico for the next 18 years.

Leaving the Conventional Life Behind

Just as we decided to jump ship and leave the conventional world behind for our Mexico adventure and subsequent life of travel, you might say they jumped to a ship and left  the conventional world behind.

MoondanceHaha2008 (1)

They didn't shake their sailing 'bug' in the high desert and by 1988 were researching sailboats; they also had decided to sell  ‘almost everything’ and buy one.  In 2000 they found Moondance, a blue water cruiser for two, (pictured above) had her shipped to California and lived aboard her for eight years getting ready to begin the life of cruisers.

After leaving San Francisco in 2008, they spent a year and a half sailing around the Sea of Cortez and by February 2011 were in Banderas Bay on Mexico’s west coast preparing for the Puddle Jump to French Polynesia.


In April 2011 they spent 22 days sailing to the South Pacific; they spent seven months there exploring Marquesas, Tuamotus and Society Islands, Moorea, Huahine, and Bora Bora. The photo above was taken at Tuamotus Bay.

VegasHawaii2012 159They arrived at the Ko Olina Marina in January 2012 and decided to make it home for the next year and a half. 

Our chance Mai Tai encounter happened at the end of their stay, just as they were beginning preparations to head out again for the South Pacific.

The four of us planned to continue our conversation while we were all at Ko Olina  (we were at our Marriott timeshare home) but never quite managed to get in more than a brief chat . . .usually during that popular Chuck’s Happy Hour.

But we’ve stayed in touch and are now following Doug and Carla as they are sailing to the South Pacific.

They’ve sailed 1,200 miles from Hawaii to Fanning Island and on July 4th arrived at Christmas Island, both part of the Republic of Kiribati  made up of  33 islands spread over 2,400 miles.

If their story has sparked your wanderlust, check out their blog, by clicking this link:  Following Moondance for their tales of the South Pacific.

That’s it for Travel Tuesday the day we feature either tips or tales about people and places! If it is your first visit, we hope to have you return soon. And to our many regulars – thanks so much for continuing to travel with us!

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Book It: A Holiday at Home!

When we aren’t living out of a suitcase we are armchair travelers. It’s the easiest of getaways requiring no more preparation and planning than opening a book’s cover (or flipping a switch and downloading, for those techie’s out there).

We’ve often found that our favorite books are not those we we’ve selected, but those that have been recommended to us by friends.  So I’ve asked a few blogosphere friends to make some recommendations. . .novels, guidebooks, essays, poetry. . .whatever they think would  make for an armchair getaway in 2012. Here’s what they suggest:

Outdoor Adventure Travel

TITLE: DSCF0066“Lost Angel Walkabout: One Traveler’s Tales” (CreateSpace, 2010)

AUTHOR: Linda Ballou

Recommended by: Dick Jordan, San Anselmo, California.

About this collection of travel narratives, Dick wrote,  “Linda’s travels have taken her on a wide path across much of the globe.  One of the reasons I enjoyed her book so much is that I have actually ventured – albeit as a less adventurous traveler – to several of the places she writes about in Alaska, Arizona, the British Virgin Islands, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Montana and Wyoming.”

Freelance travel writer Dick Jordan, when not on the road, makes his home in Northern California. He writes one of our favorite travel blogs, Tales Told From the Road.

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TITLE: “The Lost Explorer: Finding Mallory on Mount Everest,” (Simon and Schuster, 2001)

AUTHORS: Conrad Anker and David Roberts

Recommended by:  Niki Sepsas, Birmingham, Alabama and the High Seas

George Leigh Mallory was last seen alive on Mt. Everest in June, 1924.  In 1999 professional mountaineer and co-author Anker discovered Mallory’s  mummified remains.  “Interesting read on Mallory, his adventures, and his death on Everest. Authors are still trying to determine if he actually reached the summit. Lots of vivid descriptions, theories on his death, etc.” Niki said.

Birmingham, Alabama is home to freelance writer, travel guide and cruise ship speaker Niki Sepsas, who has among his writing credits, a novel,“Song of the Gypsy.”

The Greek Connection

0006100-R1-005-1TITLE: "Greece on My Wheels” (Summersdale Publishers, Ltd., 2003)

AUTHOR: Edward Enfield

Recommended by:  Bill Kitson, North Yorkshire, England 
Enfield, in this lighthearted and entertaining book, tells of his adventures biking through the Peloponnese in the footsteps of romantic poet Lord Byron.

“This book could only have been written by an Englishman. . .for two reasons,” Bill wrote, “One that the humour is archetypal English and two, I doubt whether any other nationality but the English would be daft enough to have undertaken this adventure.”

North Yorkshire, England is home-base for Bill Kitson who has brought detective Mike Nash to life in a series of nail-biter crime novels; but he and his wife/editor, Val, hold Loutro, Crete close to their hearts as well.

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By coincidence, another blogosphere friend, Jeffrey Siger, shares the Kitson’s love of Greece and by further coincidence, writes about murder as well.   He shares a blog with seven other mystery writers around the world so he was unable to suggest only one book - he says head around the world with the books of those with whom he shares the blog, Murder is Everywhere:

“If you are interested in a trip to Thailand, read Tim Hallinan; France, Cara Black; Brazil, Leighton Gage; Iceland, Yrsa Sigurdardottir; England, Dan Waddell; or South Africa, Michael Stanley,” he recommends. And if you are interested in Greece. . .

 Jeffrey Siger gave up a New York law practice to move to the island of Mykonos, Greece where he has given life to Inspector Andreas Kaldis in a series of murder mysteries set in Greece.

Afghanistan from the Armchair

TITLE: Born Under A Million Shadows (St. Martin’s Griffin, 2010)

AUTHOR: Andrea Busfield

RECOMMENDED BY: Suzi Butcher, London

Suzi said, “Sometimes books take us to places we are unlikely to be able to travel to ourselves - like Afghanistan! I especially like this novel as it is filled with gentle humour, despite the obvious tragedy of the current situation. It is the story of an Afghan boy whose mother works for three Westerners, and his perception of what they get up to is often hilarious as well as extremely moving.”

Suzi Butcher is the editor of Packabook Travel Novels a great website to both browse and buy books and a related blog that showcases novels and novel destinations. She also has a fabulous on-line book club that you can join for free!

And Just One More. . .

By now your armchair suitcase should be full, but if not, let us add a final recommendation:

0911800-R1-007-2TITLE:  Book Lust To Go Recommended Reading for Travelers, Vagabonds and Dreamers. (Sasquatch Books, 2010)

AUTHOR: Nancy Pearl

Nancy Pearl was the librarian at Seattle’s Public Library; famous for her love of books and reading. She gave rise to the program, “If All Seattle Read the Same Book” which caught on in cities throughout the United States.

Since her retirement from that post, she continues to do what she did best as a librarian – find great reads and  recommend them. She has three “Book Lust” titles to her credit, but this one is perfect for armchair travelers.  And don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a list of books, it is a book about books from A – Z; beginning with A is for Adventure and ending with Zipping through Zimbabwe – a great read on its own.

Note:  I’ve added links on the titles which will take you to Amazon for each of the books recommended. There you'll find more description and reviews. If you purchase from one of these links we make a few cents, but that isn't our intent.  This post is meant to provide new armchair itineraries. Thanks to those who contributed suggestions - may you all have safe and satisfying journeys in 2012.

YOUR TURN! What armchair itinerary do you want to add to this list?


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