Postcards from Sue and friends

A Photo Review of our Trips

Valencia Lakes Mystery Trip 2017

The Valencia Lakes Travel Club does a mystery trip, in which, you sign up only knowing the dates and length of trip, which is usually 3 days and nothing further.  They then email out clues, one at a time, so you can guess. Here were the clues.

Clue 1 Edison
Clue 2 Springs
Clue 3 President Clinton played his saxophone   🎷 in this establishment.

Clue 4 President’s hearse
Clue 5 Mission Control
Clue 6 Founded in 1851, we’ll have lunch here.

Clue 7 World War 2 and the Civil War are featured
Clue 8 Fifty-eight years ago, Freddie had a good friend here.

This was my first trip with the Travel Club and my first mystery trip.  Everyone needed to be at the clubhouse prior to 6:15 AM to board a bus to who knows where.  I had some idea that it would be Tallahassee, based on the facts that wherever we were going, it needed to be reached by bus and within one day’s drive.  That coupled with I googled president’s hearse in FL, and got Tallahassee.  I didn’t get the mission control piece, but then again, I was in Hawai’i at the time the clues were being emailed with no internet and I didn’t want to use up my data on my phone.

This was a 3 day trip – but I am going to do this in one post – so it is long.

It was Tallahasse, and our first stop was FSU, Florida State University for a buffet luncheon club suite.  The school was founded back in 1851 – so that is the answer to clue 6.




The Unconquered Student stands in front of Doak Campbell Stadium at Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida. 1947 started a new era for Florida State.  This year was when Florida State would become a coed school and stay that way through today.  In 1957, the Seminole Tribe gained Federal status.  1958, a new mascot was introduced to Florida State University, Sammy Seminole. The Seminole Warrior, the character Osceola and his horse Renegade. The Seminole Tribe approved of everything Florida State did to represent the Seminole Tribe.  The Tribes Council is still in collaboration with Florida State University and will let them maintain the mascot as long as they continue to represent the tribe in an honorable manner.

After lunch, we were provided with a bus tour of Tallahassee and then on to our hotel. Our dinner that night was at Edison restaurant. Edison restaurant is the answer to clue 1.

Next morning after breakfast we headed off on our bus to Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park. Here is the answer to Clue 2.


Here is Arlene in front of the sign.  Wakulla Springs is the home to one of the largest and deepest fresh water springs in the world.  Scientific interest in the spring began in 1850, when Sarah Smith reported seeing the bones of an ancient mastodon on the bottom. Since that time, scientists have identified the remains of at least nine other extinct mammals that date to the last glacial period, deposited as far as 1,200 feet back into a cave. Today, at a depth of about 190 feet, the fossilized remains of mastodons are in full view along with other fossils.

It is also the place where a number of films were made. Starting in 1938, several Tarzan films with Johnny Wiessmuller, Return of the Creature, Night Moves, Airport 77 and Joe Panther were filmed here. mystery-trip-5


While there we took a boat ride out to see some of the wildlife and the clarity of the water in the springs.


purple gallinule – also known as the yellow-legged gallinule.




semi friendly gator





beauty of the area – I can see why the films were made here.


Spider Lily


another gator


Those black dots are black vultures.


Juvenile black crowned night heron

From the boat, we went into the Lodge at the springs for lunch.  Initially, the lodge was built as a guest house and was turned into a hotel after his death in 1981 by the Edward Ball Wildlife Foundation. The ceiling in the lodge is unique and each picture on the 5,800 square-foot ceiling depicts historic Floridian scenes. The techniques are a combination of many, namely European folk art with Native American influences.


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while we waited for lunch, some people enjoyed a couple of games.


I had to put this in here – I had a hamburger steak, served on top of mashed potatoes, with a topping of brown gravy and grilled onions.  The gravy looked so much like frosting as the burger stood on the base of the mashed potatoes – looking like a big cupcake.
The lodge had a store which contained the normal stuff, but also, real old style candies, and mystery-trip-18

the mask from the creature from the black lagoon.

As we walked back to the bus, full from lunch, I stopped to get this gardenia –


We headed to our next stop – the Tallahassee Automobile Museum.  Boy is that name a misnomer.  If you look it up, it is listed as Tallahassee Automobile and Collectibles Museum.  Now that fits.  It has over 140 automobiles, toys, boating items, motorcycles, can openers, typewriters, cash registers, doll collections, and you name it. mystery-trip-29






Yes even cars – 1929 Auburn Boat-Tail Speedster

And pianos –


White House Gold Piano –

One of the most famous and ornate instruments created by Steinway & Sons, the first White House piano (serial no. 100,000) is the third instrument to be reproduced as part of the Legendary Collection –one-of-a-kind re-creations of the most historically significant Steinway pianos.

The magnificent painted lid was originally created by Thomas Wilmer Dewing, and was exhibited as a painting before completing the piano at the White House in 1903.  Paintings of 13 state seals and acanthus scroll encircle the case of this gilded instrument.


The Chihuly art case piano by Steinway & Sons, a one-of-a-kind design created by master American glass sculptor Dale Chihuly. The piano’s striking design features winter images, bright Promethean colors representative of the Olympic spirit, a clear glass piano desk and a translucent glass top, the first ever designed for a Steinway piano.


guns guns and more guns


Oh Yeah – and Abe Lincoln’s hearse – so that answers clue 4.

And outside the museum –



And a number of the ladies wanted their picture taken with Elvis – (he had left the building)








Kathy and Saida



From here we headed off to dinner (yes and I was still full from lunch)

at Andrews Capital Grill and Bar, where Bill Clinton once played Saxophone – the answer for clue 3.


Sistie, Kathy and Pat


Saida and Jane

From here we headed over to Challenger Learning Center and Imax theater.  It has a state-of-the-art Space Mission Simulator and space station laboratory, a 50-foot dome Planetarium and the area’s largest IMAX® 3D Theater. We were entertained by a High School Science teacher explaining how aurora’s happen.  So this is the answer to Clue 5.


and we saw a video on the auroras.



It was a jam packed day and now it was time to head back to our hotel for a little sleep.

Next morning, we were packed and back on the bus for our last day. We started off, heading to the Florida State Capitol.




The state seal which was included in one of the paintings in the lobby.

Then we went to the top to overlook the city.

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FSU in the distance


MFH Museum of Florida History building.

Then we went down to see the rooms for




House of Representatives


Then to the mezzanine to look at some interesting facts on Florida.


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As we departed the Capitol building, the Supreme Court was across the street.


And on to our final stop – the MFH Museum of Florida History.  This building contains some displays on the civil war. mystery-trip-59


I loved the detail in this set.

And finally to the World War II memorial outside the museum, which solves clue 7.



So that only leaves clue 8.  Well, I learned Freddy Cannon wrote and sang a song – Tallahassee Lassie, which I will spare you. I found out it was written by his mother.  While I enjoy a number of songs from the 1960’s this isn’t one of them.

A Mystery Trip to our state of Florida’s capital. It was quite a trip. We  settled in for the 4+ hour drive home.

















California – Last Day of Trip – Part II


We are now heading up to Los Angeles, for a short look around before heading off to dinner.  Here is downtown as we approach on the freeway.


Ahh, the old Transamerica building no longer has the T but USC on the side.


My office was on the second floor – it was fun when they were making movies or tv shows below on the first floor.  I remember them standing on this balcony shaking shaved plastic down on Cagney and Lacy with them standing in winter coats in the middle of summer in the heat.  How did they not sweat?

An interesting structure – los-angeles-a4

We parked and walked in and around Union Station.








And a piano for you to play – remember I said you not me…..


And a chair to rest waiting for your train.




On to Olvera Street –


Yes it did sort of move on the street – not in my camera.


Becky was surprised to hear that all the time I lived in LA, I never went to Olvera Street.


Lots of stuff to buy …..



And restaurants



Becky told me stories about driving down here and letting someone out of the car to place and get the order from this stand while they drove around the block.  Must have been good.




Becky hanging out with the guys again….


and kitties galore for me


And we must include the statue of Antonio Aguilar before leaving Olvera street. The 18-foot, bronze statue of Aguilar features him sitting on a horse — a fitting depiction of the performer who died in 2007, and was known as “El Charro de Mexico” (the Mexican Cowboy).

Now on to Chinatown and one of my favorite restaurants – Hop Li.

But we parked next to this temple which I don’t remember from years ago when I lived here.


Living in Florida, I do so miss certain foods that I enjoyed living in Los Angeles.  Squid with Spicy Salt, Hop Li Beef, wonderful green beans with garlic, etc.



Of course, we had to introduce Bear and Bearbette to Hop Li


We had a wonderful meal and grand conversations. It was so much fun to be with my friends – my travel buddies, my best friends.

Becky, Carol, Gloria, and Lloyd.  los-angeles-31

Thank you Carol, to you and your family, for taking me around Hawaii. and Thank you Besties – for the nicest ending for this trip.

Til our next trip together…….Much Love





California – Last Day of Trip – Part I

This was basically the last day of the trip as the Los Angeles weather decided I needed to remember how it is out there when it rains, and I mean really rains.  But we did manage to get in a drive to San Pedro Ports o Call, and to dinner in Chinatown before the sky opened on us. I am breaking this into two posts so you can see the fun we had in San Pedro.


Bear and Bearbette in the car making sure they have some water before walking around.



Becky and Carol checking out the fresh fish.






And just next door is another fish market.


And games for the little ones – or maybe the big ones.


Here I am “Grabbing the Bull by the Horns”


And Becky – well she is hugging it.


Here are the Brigantine Irving Johnson and the Brigantine Exy Johnson.  They are training ships, with a length of 111′ ft, they can hold 30 people.  The twin Brigantines and their youth crews are  “The Official Tall Ships and Maritime Ambassadors of the City of Los Angeles”.

And of course, Carol found flowers.


and we were in Los Angeles’ port.


And another fish market/restaurant.








and the kids must play….





They are supposed to be fixing the area up, and there were some quaint little shops at the end of the walk.



Where of course, Becky had to propose. Hmm what does Louie have to say about this?




Nothing like a best friend.


And more flowers for Carol




Now we see the Welcome sign.


And the squirrel welcomed us


rubbing his paws together – “Oh my lovely”


And Bear and Bearbette were feeling left out – so here are some pictures of them posing by a couple of places.



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Back into the backpack for our trip to Los Angeles.



Hawai’i – Last Day #14


And so soon it is over.  For our last full day, we are heading over to see if the Hawaiian Green Sea turtles are on the beach.  We were told to look for them at Richardson beach.


Also known as Richardson Ocean Center, Natural seawalls made out of lava create natural pools and coves, which keeps the water calm. The park is named for George Richardson, a former Chief Detective of the county of Hawaii.  He received the land as a gift from the Malo family.  In 1920, the Malo family were stricken with typhoid fever. A daughter who though afflicted, walked to the home of George Richardson to seek help.  Richardson, took the young girl on his boat, and returned to the Malo home, where he gathered up the rest of the family and headed for hospital in Hilo.  Unfortunately, two of the children did not survive, but his efforts saved the rest of the family. The Malo family offered the land to Richardson because of his efforts. The house was built with large doors at the front and back of the house to provide a corridor for the periodic inundations by high surf and tsunami.  This actually saved the house a number of times.  The Richardson Ocean Center is now located in the house.  This beach is the only beach in the Hilo area with black sand and green sand.



Black sand makes my sandal look blue.


Can see a little of the big mountain with snow yet.


Lots of rocks to negotiate. I walked out to the area where the turtles were supposed to be, but none today so far.


Lovely pools


From here we drove to Onekahakaha Beach Park.  This is the beach that Carol used to go to as a child to swim.


Here we saw a Hawaii Amakihi, a little green honey creeper.


From here we drove over to the Mauna Loa Factory to see how those wonderful chocolates were made.


And we walked around their nature walk, but after all the botanical gardens, we had seen most of these plants already.


But for Carol – here is a flower.hawaii-14-12


We did some shopping and then had some ice cream with macadamia nut. Yum.

Not enough sugar yet – now it is on to Big Island Candies . Oh my.


It was almost Valentines Day after all – with Love in the air.


And Little Kitty standing on shortbread cookies –



And we watched them making some of the wonderful treats.


And if you are like me and never saw a macadamia nut in the tree – hawaii-14-20

And after they are ready to drop –


OK my chocolate fix has been satiated for now…. (give me 5 minutes), now unfortunately it is time to go pack and get ready for our flights back to the mainland. WHHAAAAAAAAAAAA!




Hawai’i – Laupahoehoe Point and Waipio Lookout – Day 13

The trip is winding down. We are going to two places today – Laupahoehoe and Waipio Lookout.

Laupahoehoe Point is the location of a devastating tsunami back on April 1, 1946.  This beach park is situated on a peninsula of lava that just out from the northern coastline creating a very scenic area that is well worth the drive off the main thoroughfare.  The giant waves rose to 56 feet above sea level sweeping away a schoolhouse on the point along with 21 school children. The name of the area comes from the word describing the type of lava (pahoehoe) that formed this peninsula which is shaped like a giant leaf, or lau. If the wave had come just a few minutes later, they would have been in their classroom which was higher in elevation and would have survived.






People leave things in memory of those lost.


this is the remains of a pier and you can see how it tossed around the supports.


It is beautiful but rough.


Here you can see some of the effects of the VOG – making it hard to see clear as it hugs the coastline.




Carol found a spot for Bear and Bearbette with some flowers.



and then a short drive up the coast to Waipio Lookout.


Wow what a drop off – and what a view!



A black lava beach – but it is not easy to get there.


and a valley that they farm taro.





Now when I said it is not easy to get down to the beach – this is what I mean –



yes – it says 25% grade.

Now even walking down to the lookout is a drop.  And we have earned our lunch.

Off to Tex Drive in – in Honoka’a – for some lunch and some Malasadas.


What is a Malasadas you ask –

Malasadas, as they are known in Hawaii, are a yeast-leavened doughnut enriched with eggs, butter, and sometimes evaporated or fresh milk. They fry them, and roll them in sugar.  Some will have a filling but normally they are just plain.  I had apple filling.  Well, I shared mine with Carol as these are not small – half is more than enough.  Yum.









Hawai’i – Hawai’i Tropical Botanical Garden – Day 12

Yes, you guessed it – another botanical garden. What this doesn’t tell you is that this one is a walk down a hillside to the ocean.  The builder spent years cutting into the hillside to create the paths and discovered the waterfalls in the process.  The land was filled with debris and overgrown.  The last time Carol was here, it was not paved paths which has been a great improvement.  The garden’s  collection of tropical plants is international in scope. Over 2,000 species, representing more than 125 families and 750 genera, are found in this one-of-a-kind garden.

Now with that said, I am not going to name all the plants/flowers.  But do scroll to the end – to see the two images of the Hawaiian State bird – Nene.








Be careful where you put your hands or your feet.  These little guys are everywhere.




Who says its bigger in Texas?



this is the flower that will make it rain if you pick it.





no really Texas? HA. Hawai’i has the award for tall palm trees.


Cat’s Whiskers






Yes they have these too –  it is Hawai’i after all.


and waterfall or two.


and more orchids







well now, its Carol posing with an Ki’i.





Oh and I am not posting but maybe a tenth of the orchid types. This well was surrounded by all kinds of orchids.







this was way, way up in that tree.


Nice pattern in that tree top.



And we finally made it to the ocean at the bottom


And look a little crab.


Now its time to head back up.  Oh my knees.

And its time – Bear and Bearbette have been waiting patiently for their photo ops.






and they had some birds in the cage, but Bearbette was afraid they would try to steal her hair ribbon.


How big are those leaves?


Ahh – but no picking flowers now Bear…..



and finally we drove down into Hilo to a park where some Nene were found.

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Hawai’i – Kona – Day 11

Today was our trip up to Kona.  We were planning on staying up there overnight, but too many snowbirds (yes, they call them snowbirds too) were on the island and the hotels in Kona were full.  No room at the inns. So this was going to be a shorter day than planned, and it also meant we would not be in Kona for sunset.  I was batting a thousand for sunrises and sunsets on this trip.  Oh well. Be Happy.

With all the volcanic activity, we experienced a lot of haziness, also called VOG.  I learned a new term – VOG,  is a form of air pollution that results when sulfur dioxide and other gases and particles emitted by an erupting volcano react with oxygen and moisture in the presence of sunlight. The word is a portmanteau of the words “volcanic”, “smog”, and “fog”.   Another well.  Either I get to see lava and at least some sputtering of the volcano or I get clear skies.  Hmmm.  Guess this trip meant I got to see volcanic activity.  The VOG carried all the way over to Oah’u. I had heard the local new mentioning Vog, but didn’t really pay any attention to it.  It was hazy over there too.  Now I know why.

But this morning, I was given the chance to see Moano Kea – with snow on top, even with the haze you can see the observatories on the left side.hawaii-11-1

We never attempted to go up to the summit as Maunakea is one of the only places in the world where you can drive from sea level to 14,000 feet in about 2 hours, so altitude sickness is a high possibility.  At 14,000 feet, there is 40% less oxygen than at sea level, so visitors should acclimatize to the altitude before proceeding further up the mountain.  And that is only part of it. At the Visitor Information Station, located at about 9,000 ft, after you get used to that altitude, you then also need to make sure you have a true 4 wheel drive vehicle. About 200 yards beyond the station, the pavement ends and the next five miles are a steep graded-gravel road.  They warn you that most rental car companies do not allow their vehicles to go to the summit.  Not to mention, if your vehicle breaks down, it would be very expensive to get it repaired, not to mention, I can’t imagine towing fees off a mountain top. lol.  Ok, enough on the big mountain, since we weren’t going to attempt it. On to Kona.

But we stopped in Waimea – as they just had a cherry blossom festival (a couple weeks earlier)


Since we couldn’t stay, we went to the National Park  (another one to tick off my list) – Pu’uhonua O Honaunau. hawaii-11-25

This place was known as the city of refuge until its name was restored to the original Hawaiian name.  Imagine you had just broken the sacred laws, the kapu, and the only punishment was death. Your only chance of survival is to elude your pursuers and reach the Pu’uhonua, a place of refuge. The Pu’uhonua protected the kapu breaker, defeated warriors, as well as civilians during the time of battle. No physical harm could come to those who reached the boundaries of the Pu’uhonua.  Now to really understand what that means – you first need to understand that the King’s royal grounds were right next door, and it was Kapu to step on the King’s royal  grounds. So if you did break a kapu, whoever saw you break the Kapu was bound to enforce the law, including your spouse.  They would pursue you.  So you needed to get around the royal grounds, and reach the boundary of Pu’uhonua, by swimming. This was a long distance, with coral and lava reefs, not to mention sharks.  Once you reached the rocks, you still needed to climb over them to reach the beach to be safe.  If you managed to do that, you would spend a couple of days, and then you would be forgiven and could return to your village.  Another example would be if there was a war.  The winning side did not take prisoners, so you would try to make it here, so that you could live.

There is a few things to see at the visitor center, including some art work – and a turtle from the reeds of the palm. hawaii-11-3 I recommend that you stop and listen to the lecture by the park rangers.  It was very interesting to here the whole history of this area.  Then take the walk. You can do this with a ranger or follow the path with the sites numbered on the handout.

hawaii-11-4 There are  many ki’i (carved wooden images) around the grounds.


hawaii-11-6 This is a model of the Hale o Keawe, showing the detail of the construction..



Bear and Bearbette getting ready to play the ancient game – Konane.  It is a strategy game played with black and white pieces on a papamu (stone playing surface- carved into a lava surface.)


The Hale o Keawe.



Bear and Bearbette climbed a coconut tree.



Two Guardian Ki’i stand on shore to alert everyone of the great mana here.



The heiau was a royal mausoleum housing bones of 23 ali’i, including Keawe-i-kekahi-ali’i-o-ka-moku, Kamehameha’s great grandfather.  These bones give the heiau immense mana.


The great wall up to 12 feet tall and 18 feet wide and over 950 feet long. marking the royal grounds.  This wall was constructed over 400 years ago using dry set masonry.


A bit of the rocks you would have had to scramble over in the surf to reach this place of refuge.



One of the fishing ponds for the King.


And to protect the canoes  today, before it was an ancient shelter for working.




another wonderful day sight seeing –

Be Happy – from the visitor center as we were leaving.



sorry I am so far behind.  I am trying to catch up – but with another trip starting in the morning, I will not finish the posts for this trip until I return, though I might get a couple more days posted tonight.  This is what happens when you are without the internet for the first week of a trip. Hang in there, I will get it posted.











Hawai’i – Hilo – Day 10

We started our day heading over to Akaka Falls State Park.  Bear and Bearbette posed by the

Here is the view from the parking lot


It looks like a ways off – gonna be a long walk I think – little did I know that it wasn’t a exceptionally long walk but it was definitely a major up or down trek.  They fortunately made the trail with stair steps and railings which made the going a lot easier.

I zoomed in to see the falls from here.


The park is about 11 miles (18 km) north from Hilo. There are two falls in this park –  ʻAkaka Falls and Kahūnā Falls.  The pleasant 0.4-mile downhill and uphill hike will take you through a lush rainforest filled with wild orchids, bamboo groves and draping ferns. You have a choice to go left to Akaka Falls or to the right to the Kahūnā Falls.

day-10-4Going to the right is the easiest as the steep trail descends at a good clip but we found the walk back up from Akaka Falls was not as steep which made the trip easier.

You know I am with Carol – so if there are flowers …..

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As you follow the paved footpath, you’ll first see 100-foot Kahuna Falls.

day-10-13Continue to follow the loop around the bend,

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In the southern US, we have vines that cover trees – but those choke out the tree killing it.  – In Hawaii – this is their version though the tree is not killed, though it seems like it completely is completely covered.

day-10-17and you’ll discover towering Akaka Falls which plummets 442-feet into a stream-eroded gorge.

day-10-19 day-10-20 day-10-21They tell me that the beautiful Akaka Falls is perhaps Hawaii Island’s most famous waterfall. As we continue our walk now back up to the parking lot, we see more lush plants.


day-10-27gold dust day gecko (phelsuma laticauda)

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and bananas.


we crossed over part of a stream with a small waterfall – day-10-28


me trying to get those waterfall shots.

As we drove back from Akaka Falls, we went through a quaint little town – Honomu



and of course, Carol found some flowers for Bear and Bearbette.


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Along the main road from where Carol’s brothers live, there are a number of waterfalls visible from the road.  We crossed one bridge and there was a place to pull the car off to the side so that we could walk back on the bridge.




Carol and Bears posing while I squat down on the opposite side of the roadway so that I can see the waterfall between the rails on the side next to Carol.

We then headed to a place where Carol’s brother used to surf.  It was down a winding back road which lead to a park, which no one that doesn’t live here would ever find. day-10-39

But there was a cool bridge – I just didn’t like the vines hanging down. Oh well, here is the bridge.


Yes we are deep in the woods. But there is light around the corner –


Here Bear and Bearbette stopped to put on bug spray before venturing further as the mosquitoes were biting. That is the roadway bridge in the background.

But there is a waterfall – really – no kidding and bear and bearbette rested on a log on this side.




The surf wasn’t up only the waves coming in to the park – day-10-44

It was time to go back to the house to rest as we were going back up to the volcano as they said the sunsets were great up there.

Later, we headed back to Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park to see the sunset – but…. no, it was cloudy and rainy. The clouds were on top of us, but there was a ring just on the horizon with no clouds.  So hopeful, we proceeded on.  The lava lake surface on this day was higher than what we saw yesterday.  It was less than 75 ft  below the rim of the Overlook Vent.

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No sunset. Now it was raining and very windy.  We donned our plastic ponchos trying to last out til it got dark as they saw the crater glows.  Well, we didn’t make it.  We lasted for 45 minutes after sunset but it was getting cold and we were trying to protect our cameras. So we gave up, but not before we got these

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And – please bear with me – as I don’t do video very much and with the wind and no tripod – here is a short video of what we were seeing –






Hawai’i – Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park

This morning we drove up to Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park.  We stopped at the visitor center to find out the status of the volcanic activity. Looking at this map, we visited #1 and #2.


Bear and Bearbette got on the relief map to show you where we were staying – Pepeekeo.


and where we were near Kileaua.


Kilauea is the youngest and most active Hawaiian shield volcano, located on the southern part of the Island of Hawai’i. Kilauea volcano is near-constantly erupting from vents either on its summit (caldera) or on the rift zones. At present, Kilauea volcano is still having one of the most long-lived eruptions known on earth, which started in 1983 on the eastern rift zone and has mainly been concentrated at the Pu’u ‘O’o vent.
Kilauea volcano, a youthful shield volcano, sitting on the south east flank of the massive Mauna Loa shield volcano, is the youngest volcano (on land) of the Hawaiian hot spot and not only the most active volcano of Hawaii but at the same time also the world’s active volcano.
Its eruptions are prominent in Hawaiian Polynesian legends and written documentation about its activity go back to only 1820s when it started to attract interested visitor from all over the world and became one of volcanology’s hot spots.
Kilauea has a large summit caldera with a central crater, Halemaumau, which is according to Hawaiian legends the home of the fire goddess Pele. Until 1924, it contained a lava lake. Kilauea has frequent summit and flank lava flow eruptions that are occurring along two elongated rift zones to the south-west and to the east, which extend to the sea on both sides of the volcano. The 3 x 5 km caldera was formed in several stages about 1500 years ago. About 90% of the surface of the basaltic shield volcano is formed of lava flows less than about 1100 years old; 70% of the volcano’s surface is younger than 600 years. The long-term eruption from the East rift zone that began in 1983 has produced lava flows covering more than 100 sq km, destroying nearly 200 houses and adding new coastline to the island.

We got the latest information from the National Park Service about the lava flow into the ocean –

The “firehose flow” at Kīlauea Volcano’s Kamokuna ocean entry was clearly visible from the public lava viewing area established by Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, but the lava had crossed the road closing it, so now you need to drive around and access from the other side. This was because on February 2, 2017,  the section of sea cliff above the ocean entry collapsed  at about 12:55 p.m.  Hiking out to the  lava flow from the park is allowed, but it’s not for everyone. From the Coastal Ranger Station, it’s a grueling, 7.4 mile roundtrip hike. Hikers may walk along the gravel emergency access route for the majority of the hike. And to do the hike you need to bring a 2-4 liters or quarts of water per person, sun protection, a hat and wear strong hiking boots or shoes. If you hike out later in the day, you need to have a good flashlight and extra batteries as it is pitch black out there.  So no we were not going to do this hike.  And there was no guarantee that you could see the flow into the ocean from land.  The other ways were to go by helicopter or by boat.  Neither were recommended by the National Park Service as when the lava enters the ocean it sometimes causes large eruptions throwing rocks etc far into the air or even out to sea. There have been reports of rocks hitting and cracking the windshields on helicopters.

But before we go up to Kilauea to see the latest activity we should talk about Pele.

The following was Written by Lady Gryphon

Pele the Fire Goddess (Pronounced peh-leh or pel-lə) – is one of the most well known and revered in Hawaiian mythology. As a sign of respect you may hear her referred to as Madame Pele or Tutu Pele.
She is a goddess of fire, lightning, dance, wind, volcanoes and violence. Her poetic name is Ka wahine `ai honua or the woman who devours the land. She is both a creator and destroyer. She throws molten fountains into the air and governs the great flows of lava. With her power over the volcanoes, she created the Hawaiian Islands and to this day, she has been known to reveal herself throughout the beautiful islands she crafted herself.

No Kahiki mai ka wahine `o Pele,
Mai ka `aina mai o Polapola,
Mai ka punohu a Kane,
Mai ke ao lapa i ka lani.

The woman Pele comes from Kahiki,
From the land of Polapola,
From the rising mist of Kane,
From the clouds that move in the sky.

According to legend, Pele lives in one of the most active volcanoes in the world. She calls the summit of Kilauea, in Halemaʻumaʻu crater home. Although, her reach is throughout Hawaii nei.
The Hawaiian (Polynesian) goddess of the volcano, she was born in Honua-Mea, part of Tahiti. One of a family of six daughters and seven sons born to Haumea (a very ancient Earth goddess) and Kane Milohai (creator of the sky, earth and upper heavens). She was exiled by her father because of her temper. The final straw being a fighting with her elder water-goddess sister Na-maka-o-Kaha’i, whose husband Pele had seduced. Pele’s oldest brother, the king of the sharks, Kamohoali’i, gave her a great canoe, upon which she and her brothers traveled far from home, over the wide expanse of the seas, sailing on this great canoe eventually to find Hawaii.
All the while, Pele battles with her sister Namakaokahai who is a Sea Goddess. During this perilous journey she carried her favorite little sister, Hi’iaka (or Hi’iaka i ka poli o Pele – Hi’iaka in the bosom of Pele) in egg-form all the way to the Hawaiian islands. That makes Hi’iaka the first God of the Pele family to be born in Hawaii.
When Pele got to Hawaii, she first used her Pa’oa, or o’o stick on Kauai — striking deep into the earth but she was attacked by her older sister and left for dead. Pele recovered and fled to Oahu, where she dug several “fire pits,” including the crater we now called Diamond Head, in Honolulu. After that, she left her mark on the island of Molokai before traveling further southeast to Maui and creating the Haleakala Volcano.
By then her older sister Namakaokahai, realized Pele was still alive and she went to Maui to do battle. Finally, the epic battle ended near Hana, Maui, where Pele was torn apart by her sister. Legend says her bones remain as a hill called Ka-iwi-o-Pele.
Upon death, she became a god and found a home on Mauna Kea, on the Island of Hawai’i. There she dug her final and eternal fire pit, Halemaumau Crater, at the summit of Kilauea Volcano. Known as the Navel of the World, Ka Piko o ka Honua — were the gods began creation. She is said to live there to this day and is thought to be very happy there.

So now on with our story – day-9-3 we proceeded on to the Jaggar Museum observation deck, about a mile from the eruption site, the closest visitors can get. We are about 4,440 ft in elevation here.


Bear and Bearbette looked over the Halema’uma’u crater inside the Kilauea caldera.  You can see a bit of the lava lake – see the little bit of red over Bearbette’s shoulder.


With this image you can see the crater and some of the edges of Kilauea’s caldera. Also notice there are a number of steam vents within Kilauea’s floor.


A little closer view.


Even closer.


And closer still.

And a panorama –


And Carol posing with the lava showing behind her.


This is quite some view.

What you are seeing is some spattering in the lava lake. We didn’t smell any sulfur so the wind was in our favor.

Here is the NPS report, which they do every morning.

Summit tiltmeters recorded a switch to DI inflation yesterday afternoon. The lava lake surface rose along with the tilt and was measured at about 30 m (100 ft) below the floor of Halemaʻumaʻu crater this morning. Seismicity rates were at background levels and tremor values fluctuated in response to changing lava lake circulation, spattering, and rockfalls. Sulfur dioxide emission rates ranged from about 4,600 to 5,800 metric tons/day over the past week, when measurements were possible during trade wind conditions.


We then drove around the Chain of Craters Road around the different craters and down to the sea,  day-9-11 stopping by a steam vent near the road.

day-9-15 day-9-14 taking the view of where we were before from the other side of Kilauea’s caldera.  Not sure you can see it but in the first image about a third from the right along the lighter grey line – you might be able to see some people who are hiking a trail.  This should give you a bit of perspective as to how high up the rim of the caldera is.

Of course, for those who know Carol, she will find flowers anywhere – even here in a volcanic area.  day-9-12

day-9-16and even guava growing in the lava field.  day-9-17




Here is some lava tracks – day-9-18



As we almost reached the ocean, looking back at the ridge we drove down, you can see where previous lava flows happened (dark area, whereas the areas skipped are green).



At the end of the road (due to the lava flow over the road) was also a spot to view Hōlei Sea Arch.  At present, the sea arch is about 90 ft. (27.4 meters) high. The creation of this sea arch was within the last 100 years. This beautiful formation has a limited life span. The sea arch will eventually crumble and will no longer be a feature of the park. However, another will replace it as the cliff slowly migrates inland. This impressive sea arch was cut into the cliff of an ancient lava flow, about 550 years ago. The term used in the creation of this sea arch is “differential erosion”, which is the difference in the hardness of various layers of lava flow.


And the view of the coast line looking towards the current lava flow into the ocean.


As we drove back we could see the steam from where the lava was flowing into the ocean


We stopped at a couple of older craters – day-9-34

And Carol was finding more flowers.





I even found one – day-9-37

These plants were amazing growing in what seemed to be rock.


And people had to add to the look.


Another crater – day-9-41

And the 1979 lava flow – day-9-39

I found out there are different kinds of lava.  I always thought it was that smooth flowing stuff we see on tv.  Ha. Sometimes it looks like a freshly plowed field.  This image show two different kinds with a tree line in the distance.


And just a little bit of color against the black lava field.


My final image is of a tree bleached white – laying on the lava.  It looked like a person crawling to me.



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