Heidi (in front) - The Staff to Rylie

Heidi (in front) - The Staff to Rylie
Heidi (in front) - The Staff to Rylie

Monday, April 25, 2011

Black Widow Spider and More Hawaii Photos

This is the first time that I have stayed at a place that gave me my own trash can. Half of the can is for trash, and the other half is for recyclables. Pretty cool. Except for the large black widow spider hanging out in the recyclables side. I know it's a black widow because I saw the red hourglass. I thought that after the trash was picked up it would be gone, dumped into the garbage truck, but it's still there. Did I mention that it's very large? I don't like spiders. I don't want to kill it, but I don't really want it hanging around near my motorhome, either. What to do? Spider spray? Is there such a thing that will actually work? I will have to investigate.

More Hawaii photos below.


Tiki Torch Lighter

South Point

Old Boat Hoist at South Point

View from South Point

Where They Used to Tie Up the Canoes at South Point - the current is very strong here

Another View from South Point

Hawaiian Graffiti -- It's written with coral rocks

Rylie's Notes:

The Staff is a big chicken when it comes to spiders, especially big black widows. Should we take bets on how long she is going to avoid it before she does something about it?

Monday, April 18, 2011

'Possum Rescue

Yesterday Rylie and I set out for our usual morning walk. We were about a half a block away on a very busy street when we came across what looked like a dead baby opossum on the sidewalk. We walked a little bit further and came across another baby opossum, but this one was very much alive. It hissed at Rylie when he stuck his nose near it, which really started him.

I looked around, but there was no mom in sight. I knew they wouldn't survive in that busy spot, so we ran back to the motorhome and got a box. I put the active one into the box, then gave the dead-looking one a tiny nudge and it moved -- it was still alive. So I put that one in the box too. We walked a little further, and Rylie found another baby hiding in the leaves. Into the box it went.

I brought them to the Lindsay Museum wildlife hospital, where they take in injured and orphaned wildlife. You may recall my post last year when I did a squirrel rescue. Unfortunately, that squirrel had been run over by a car and didn't make it. The opossums looked like they might make it. The volunteers at Lindsay Museum Hospital take care of the babies until they are large and healthy enough to be released back into the wild. It's a great organization.

I learned that female opossums have two uteruses and can have about 20 babies. When they get a little older, they hang on to the mother and hitch a ride. Unfortunately, they sometimes fall off, and Mom doesn't know it, so babies commonly get left behind.

On Saturday I had a great day with my gal pals, Mari and Cheryl. We went to the Earth Day celebration at the John Muir House in Martinez, then did a hike nearby. The hills are still very lush and green, with dainty little wildflowers. I didn't have my camera with me, so you'll have to use your imagination.

From there we went to Crockett and The Dead Fish, where we had a tasty late lunch overlooking the bay. There might have been wine involved. It's really a nice spot for lunch or dinner and they have a large outdoor patio with great bay views. Afterward we walked across the Carquinez Bridge and back. Views from the bridge below:

Cheryl, Mari and Me

Cheryl and Mari

Today I arrived in Visalia, CA for more Air Photo work. I guess the party is over.

Rylie's Notes:

If it weren't for my superior nose, The Staff never would have found that third opossum. She really needs a lot of help when it comes to her olfactory sense. Humans have a poor excuse for a nose.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Place of Refuge

The Great Wall

While in Hawaii I visited the Place of Refuge, also known as Pu'uhonua o Honaunau, which is a national park on the Big Island. In ancient Hawaiian times, people could be executed for violating an enormous system of laws. One law stated that the lower classes could not look at or walk on the same trails as the upper classes. Another said they could not walk in the shadow of the king. Violating this complicated legal system resulted in execution by club, strangulation, fire, or spear. However, if the lawbreaker was able to escape his pursuers and make it to the Place of Refuge, he could perform certain rituals as dictated by the priest, and then all would be forgiven and he could return home.

I had a very interesting experience while visiting this Place of Refuge. I'm not sure if it was spiritual or emotional, but it definitely affected me. Since Julie's back was bothering her that day, I visited this place by myself, and it was almost entirely deserted when I arrived. As soon as I entered the grounds I felt feelings of peace and comfort overtake me. It sounds strange, but I felt like this place was familiar, like home, even though I had never been here before. As I strolled the grounds I smelled the sweetest fragrance, although I could not see flowers or anything blooming. I was so overcome with emotion that I actually had tears in my eyes, although I could not tell you why. If you go to the Big Island, I highly recommend a visit.

The photo above is of the Great Wall, which was built in the 1500s. It was made without chiseled stones and without mortar. I took a lot of photos here, as you will see below.

A Game

Rylie's Notes:

Dogs know all about places of refuge. They are called dens.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Big Island Restaurants - Brown's Beach House and Canoe House

The Hawaii photos are still trickling in. The photo below was taken at a fantastic restaurant called Brown's Beach House, which is located in the Fairmont Orchid Hotel in Kamuela on the Big Island. Every dish was excellent, and you couldn't ask for a better atmosphere. We were right next to the beach with tiki torches and live Hawaiian music. We were treated to a gorgeous sunset as we sat down to dinner.

The photo below was also taken at the Fairmont Orchid Hotel, before going to dinner:

We had another excellent dinner at the Canoe House, which you can see below. The live music playing that night was really great, and so was the food.

Rylie's Notes:

What?! Excellent food and no doggy bags? What a scrooge.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Las Vegas, Pneumonia and Family

Wondering where I've been? For the past two weeks I've been in Las Vegas visiting my parents, who were visiting from Minnesota. Cammie, Doug, and my nephew, Nate, showed up for a weekend and surprised my parents. They really got a kick out of that. Mom and Dad flew back today.

The Family at The Peppermill, left to right, Mom, Dad, Nate, Doug, Cammie and Me

Unfortunately, I missed seeing them for a few days because I developed walking pneumonia and had to wait until the antibiotics kicked in. Since I never get sick, I was not happy this had to happen while they were here. I got an extra bonus of spending some time with my friend Charlee. The weather was lousy the first few days I was here, but it has really turned beautiful -- and even hot -- lately.

My freelance writing business has been taking off lately, so that has been keeping me pretty busy too. I will be headed to Pahrump after Las Vegas to attend a rally that my client wants me to attend, then I will return to the Bay Area to celebrate Cammie's birthday.

Today I had some service and repairs done on the motorhome. The guys at Desert Mobile RV Repair do an excellent job and they are so nice. I highly recommend them.

I know, I know, I owe you all a bunch of Hawaii photos. Here's a few from the deep sea fishing trip I told you about earlier.

Captain Rob and First Mate Teddy welcoming us aboard the Integrity, the "little boat" owned by the founder of Cirque de Soleil, Guy Laliberte. He also owns a $30 million sailboat. His father, Gaston, invited us along, and we had a really fun day. Fishing is not normally my thing -- I feel sorry for the fish -- but I have to admit those yellow fin tuna made a tasty dinner.

Left to right, Don, Julie, Bob, Me, Rob and Gaston

Teddy giving me lessons on how to reel in the big one. That turned out to be unnecessary, although Bob reeled in a 580-pound marlin two weeks earlier in this same chair.

Rylie's Notes:

How nice to get a visit from The Grand Staff. I'm her favorite grandpuppy, you know. (She still calls me her grandpuppy.)