Tuesday, December 18, 2018

A Trip Up to the Majestic Haleakalā National Park

Monday, December 17, 2018

Christmas Eve is now only a week away and my return flight to Varese and our beloved Skorpions looms on the horizon only a month from today.

 We better enjoy the Hawaiian
Yuletide Season as much as we can
in the meantime

 We started today's adventures with a
hearty breakfast at this interesting spot

 Just across the way about 75 meters
from our breakfast table,
we had this view of the surf crowd

After breakfast we divided our forces into two groups for the day.

Laurie and Susie opted to stay in Kihei for a day at the beach both soaking up the sunshine and refreshing themselves in the clear Pacific Ocean waters.

Having a curious sea turtle joining
them on the sand was a bonus

While they were enjoying their beach day, the rest of us loaded up the car for the scenic drive to Maui's "Upcountry" area at the foot of the long dormant Haleakalā Volcano.

This is Maui's cowboy country that includes the small cities of Makawao, Kula and Paia as well as the Haleakalā National Park.

It was a long and winding road to the
National Park entry gate

It was a mini-Road to Hana type of driving experience.

If you've ever driven that infamous Road to Hana, you know exactly what I mean.

It should have cost us $25 for the car to enter the park but Mark produced his lifetime membership card in the National Park Foundation and we proceeded up the mountain for free.

Mallory and Sophie Johnson
at the Park Visitor Station
just past the entrance

At this point we were a mere 7,000 feet/2134 meters above sea level.

We still had to traverse another 3,023 feet/921 meters of elevation to reach Haleakalā's summit

 Finally, the "lunar landscape",
360° view from the summit of Maui

We were now 10,023 feet/3,055 meters above the Pacific Ocean.

Maybe Steph Curry was a right . . .

Sophie, Mark, Mallory join me
for an amazing panorama

 Haleakalā's Āhinahina
or Silversword plant

Unique to Haleakalā, this rosette plant can take anywhere from five to 50 years to bloom. When it does. it produces the tall stalk seen here loaded with purple flowers signaling the end of that particular Silversword's lifecycle.

 Views of Haleakalā's
remaining cinder cones

Much of the ancient volcano's original crater has eroded over the eons.

This still massive volcano still
creates vast weather swings on Maui

FOUR HUNDRED inches of rain yearly near Hana?

My goodness.

"Top of the world, Ma!" 

 Just incredible to see

With Mark

The Cinder Cones

It was a long trip but it was worth
it once we hit the summit!

Thanks for driving, Mark,

Rose Bowl GAME DAY
is now just two weeks away

Tuesday's agenda is highlighted by a morning snorkeling boat trip to the uninhabited, crescent shaped islet of Molokini.


Stay tuned . . .

Monday, December 17, 2018

A Quiet Maui Sunday

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Some days you just want to sit and read . . .

. . . with this view and . . .

. . . this nourishment at hand
it just seemed like the thing to do

Of course I had to check the internet to get the news of the day from Varese.

Our U16 team (6-1) won an
overtime Wild Card playoff game
thriller against the Roma Gladiatori!

There are 12 clubs fielding U16 teams in Italy this season. They are broken down into three, four team Groups.

Our Varese Skorpions are in Group C with the Bergamo Lions, Ferrara Aquile and Bolzano Giants. The Skorpions and Lions were both 5-1 in regular seasomplay while the bottom feeding Aquile and Giants both finished with 1-5 marks in 2018.

The Skorpions earned Group C's #1 seed based on outscoring the Lions by 21 points in the two head-to-head games that they split.

The Roma Gladiatori earned their way into the playoffs by finishing the regular season at 3-3, good for second place in Group A play.

Our U19 Skorpions had a tough go of it this season in our five team Group B going 0-6. There are 17 U19 clubs =competing in Italy.

The Skorpions did not field a U13 club this season. Only seven Italian teams did in 2018.

Up next for the hard charging Skorpions
is a date in Torino this coming Saturday
for a Semi-Final Playoff game against
the #2 seeded Giaguari (5-1)

Go Skorpions GO!

After a day of solitude and making a Costco run while the ladies basked in the sunshine poolside, it was time for dinner. 

Reportedly the best Happy Hour
dining in the Kihei megalopolis

After our dining experience, I can't argue the point.

The shrimp scampi was the highlight of our noshing.

The Johnson Clan at Manoli's

If you go ever to Manoli's, be surer to leave room for their signature Holy Manoli dessert!

The six of us shared it and still could not finish the deliciously rich GIGANTIC chocolate chip cookie with two huge scopes of vanilla ice cream and Oreo cookie crumbles sprinkled on top just for the fun of it.

While we were dining, the 11-2 Rams
were hosting the 6-7 Eagles

For the second week in a row, it did not go well for our Rams.

Philadelphia Eagles (7-7)  30
Los Angeles Rams (11-3) 23

We may need a QB change soon
as Jared Goff has now thrown
SIX interceptions in the last two games,
both losses to Da Bears and Eagles

Reading Is FUNdamental!

Peter May never disappoints

Sunday, December 16, 2018

First Two days in Kihei, Maui with the Johnson Clan

Friday, December 14 - Saturday, December 15, 2018

We had been invited to join our long time friends Mark and Susie Johnson, along with their daughters Sophie and Mallory, for a week's stay in their condo in Kihei on the Hawaiian island of Maui.

It was an offer that we
could not refuse

I dressed the part of the
Hawaiian tourist on our flight

Our Friday started in the wee hours as our flight from LAX departed at 7:00 a.m.

It was a bit of a bumpy ride but we arrived at Maui's Kahului Airport none the worse for wear.

After grabbing a taxi to the condo, as the Johnson Clan was not scheduled to arrive for another four hours, we were ready to explore Kihei on our own.

This was our third trip to the 50th State, all on Maui and our second Hawaiian yuletide vacation with Mark and Susie. We had been here with them in 2016 as well.

The view from the Johnson's
condominium lanai in the
Kamaole Sands complex

About a two minute walk
from the condo

Vistas in Paradise

Laurie WAY overdressed
for island life

It was a BEAUTIFUL day for a
walk in Kihei

Unexpected internet news about
dropping Holiday Bowl ticket prices

Not to worry, Rose Bowl ticket prices for the Ohio State-Washington game are still high.

Soon after sharing a good pork sandwich at the 808 Deli, I know that it is hard to believe that I shared food, the Johnson's arrived.

We unloaded their bags and were off to Costco for a Christmas shopping spree where I saw . . . 

. . . another omen about my
impending departure to Varese

Also from the internet, a reminder
that the Skorpions U16 team was
playing in an opening round
playoff game at home on Sunday

Saturday morning sunrise

Our hosts, L. to R.:
Mallory, Sophie, Susie and Mark

We hit the road at a decent hour to do, what else, shop!

Where there is smoke,
there is island BBQing!

Mark knew exactly where to go first off as this roadside BBQ stand is only open on Saturdays.

One Whole Chicken and
One Whole Slab of Ribs please


Giving us two delicious ribs to gnaw on as parting gifts for stopping by was a nice touch I thought.

They were BUSY at this early hour

While we would save our order for a late lunch back at the condo. The aroma, every time we got back in our rented SUV of the BBQd meat, definitely qualified as Cruel and Unusual Punishment as defined in the U.S. Constitution in my opinion.

Of course we stopped at the Saturday
Arts and Craft Market on the campus of
Maui Community College

How I pass about 50% of every
vacation on every continent 

Of course Laurie found several trinkets that we just had to have to make our home even more museum-like.

Colorful fruits and vegetables
were also for sale

At the massive
Da Warehouse store

Da Warehouse specializes in buying used furnishings of all types from Hawaiian hotels going through remodeling projects and then selling them to people like Mark and Susie who are still furnishing their condo.

Although they are well known to the owners of Da Warehouse from what we saw, today the only transaction was the purchase of a nice lamp for a mere $5.00 USD.

With this sale, Da Warehouse now only had about 30 more of the exact same lamp to unload.

After devouring the BBQ food for lunch and then spending some quality time at the condo complex pool, we were off for the short walk to find a dinner spot for some local fish based cuisine.

Nice sunset on our walk to dinner

Hey, that's our Condo Complex!

Our approximately one mile stroll led us to one of our son Andy and his wife's favorite places to eat on Maui . . .

. . . this is their place!

It is Coconut's relatively new second location in Kihei that I do not think that Andy and Jenn have visited.

The food was just as outstanding
as it was at Coconut's older location
two years ago

It was the seared, blackened Ahi salad for me and the coconut shrimp for Laurie.

It was great but wee still needed something more to complete our meal.

A walk of but 50 meters did the trick . . .

. . . a small cup of ice cream
at Cones on Kihei was the perfect
way to end another day in
PARADISE with good friends!

What adventure will Sunday bring . . .