Disneyland California and West Coast Trip Reports Trip Reports

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Old 6 Mar 23, 09:10 PM  
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Day 9. Car hire and a move to Turtle Bay on the North Shore. Monday 27 March 2023.. or ‘ Road to nowhere’. by Talking Heads.

Today was always going to be a kind of transit day, with a Car pickup from Avis at the International Market at 1500.. Thankyou Andy at DFCH who beat rivals by a large amount on this one.. £470 for 7 nights.

We were up, Breakfasted, Two bowls of Pineapple Chunks with Vanilla Yoghurt poured on and Granola plus desiccated Cranberry on top of that.. I am on a Health Kick!

We checked out and left our luggage with the Bell Boys before heading into town.
Amongst an awful lot of aimless wandering, we purchased just one single item.. from the Christmas Store.
It will look great in our Sun Room.. when we eventually build it.

What to eat for Lunch? We were considering a Poke Bowl, but then walked past a Cheesecake Factory. We just couldn’t resist. I had the Chicken and Parmesan Roll and Mandie the Chicken and Avocado Club Sandwich.. plus bottomless diet Cokes .. $42. We were too stuffed for Cheesecake. The ‘Poke stuff’ will have to wait for another day!

I suddenly had this idea. We were due to return our car at 1400 before getting to the Airport and flying out at 1900. AA have now rescheduled us to 2240.
When we collected our bags from the Bellboys, I asked that on 03 April and upon our return from North Shore, they agree to look after our bags whilst we have a last look around Waikiki and doubtless a Swim. They very kindly agreed.. mission accomplished and three cheers for the Bellboys of the Hyatt Place.. (who will doubtless trouser another of my $20 notes).

A brief walk and we were at the International Marketplace to pick up our Wheels from Avis. The guy behind the desk took one look and made my Compact a Nissan Ultima as I am of Large Build… Which roughly translates as he didn’t have anything smaller in the 5th floor Garage.

Our Ultima awaits!

Driving out of Waikiki was simple in that we followed the Satnav blindly.. but only after reaching Highway 1 by heading out of town towards the Zoo and then turning left.

The traffic was very heavy indeed until we reached Pearl City, where it then thinned out a little. It was 2 hours just under to Turtle Bay.

On arrival, we approached the West Gates as directed and put in the pre sent code as instructed. This was meant to go by phone to the Landlady in order that she raise the barrier.. not much use when she didn’t answer the Phone.
Plan B. We had the Apartment door code and said Apartment was only 100yds inside the barrier. Mandie nipped in, grabbed the Key Fob from the desk inside and we were parked up in no time at all.
The Apartment is spacious and immaculate. As well as comprehensively fitted out to a very good standard.

View from the Window.

We are delighted.

What to do next? Well, Mandie was a little tired, so I took a 400 yd walk into the Turtle Bay Resort, arriving just as the Sun was setting.

I took a walk along the Beach to a quieter area around 400 yds to the East..

To that Golden Sand in the distance.

I then stripped off and gently/gingerly entered the water until just over knee deep… when a huge wave knocked me off my feet and onto my backside!
After a few minutes swimming, I was back, dressed and walking back to the Apartment, albeit over the Golf Course because I am a Rebel like that!

I think that we are going to like it here!

16174 Steps.

Edited at 08:42 PM.
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Old 6 Mar 23, 09:11 PM  
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Day 10. A lazy day to settle in on North Shore? Yeah.. right! Tuesday 28 March 2023.

I was awake early, 0500 early. A Cockerel was incessantly crowing from the Fairway behind our ‘let’. It might have been morning to him, but it most certainly was not for me!

The Offender!.. or ‘Perp’, as we are in the USA.

I managed to tolerate the Cockerel in one ear and Mandies snoring in the other for two whole hours until I solved one of the issues by giving Mandie a loving dig in the ribs, that appeared to stop her snoring… just possibly because it woke her up.

Mandie had envisioned a lovely, lazy day of nothingness.. but of course I had plans. Exciting plans that required her attendance!

We were out for 0855 and motoring towards the metropolis of Pupukea, around 5 miles to the East of us and home of ‘Foodland’, a rather brilliantly and imaginatively named.. Supermarket.

From the outside, ‘Foodland’ resembled a rundown shed, but upon entry, we found it clean, spacious and.. eye wateringly expensive!
A Turkey Club Sandwich $7.99 for me and a Caprese sandwich $5.99 for Mandie
A family bag of Tangy Cheese Doritos $3.99
Two cans (not Toucans) of flat Pomegranate and Orange, $1.35 each.
We then drove across the road from Foodland, parked up and consumed our surprisingly delicious Breakfast. We know how to live!

It was time to hit the rather lovely looking Beach, just in front of us.. After a quick, snap photo of our hire car..

Our Nissan Altima (not Ultima as I thought yesterday).. and it has flappy paddles behind the steering wheel to drop or gain gears.. This will give me good practice for when our Polo GTI DSG arrives in July!

The Beach car parking was all but full… and unlike practically everything else on Oahu, it is free!

Initial view.

In no time we were in the water, where I took these images with my Olympus TG-4 Underwater Camera.

I feel sure that you will all recognise this one.. a ‘Moorish Idol’, no less!

A Flock? of Convict Tang.. or even a Shoal of escapees.

Orange Spine Unicorn Fish. This one was really brightly coloured (or colored).

Orange Banded Surgeon Fish.

I searched long and hard for a humuhumunukunukuapua'a, which everybody but everybody knows is the State Fish of Hawaii. I am betting that nobody even suspected for one moment that I was a bit of an amateur…. Ichthyologist.

It was time for Lunch (and it had started to rain). We tried our first ever, real Poke Bowls from a van in Pupukea.
Mandie went for a Palm Springs Poke

Whilst I went for a Thai Poke (it had Ginger and Mango).

I have to be honest and say that at $17 each, we were somewhat underwhelmed.

This one that we tried in Falmouth as a ‘rehearsal’ and prior to leaving for this vacation tasted infinitely better, was in a Restaurant and on a real plate, as well as costing 2/3 the price at £10.50.
I think that for our next Poke Bowl, we will wait until we are in ‘Kono’, Falmouth, Cornwall. We do better Poke down in Gods Country.

We moved on, back to Foodland for a second visit, this time it was real shopping to last… a day.
2 Tubes of Pringles.
Some Blueberry muffin bites.
Some Tropicana Orange.
330ml of Semi Skimmed Milk
A Pineapple.
The bill came to $38… reduced to $32.50 when we gave our Mobile phone number to achieve ‘Makai’ discounts. Well worth a google, if in a ‘Foodland’ near to you!

We returned to our comfy accommodation for a nice doze.. as the Cockerel no longer had anything to crow about.

There only remained two things to do.
1. A walk on my own to the Turtle Bay resort in order to pick up Menus and plan for Mandie’s forthcoming Birthday.
2. To give consideration as to how I am going to reduce that Pineapple to edible chunks.. Perhaps I can sell the outer bits to a nearby Luau for $12, so that they can pour Ice and a tiny bit of Cocktail in it.

The entire contents of our Fridge.. including the Pineapple that cost me $5.62.. and awaits its ultimate fate.

6468 Steps.. and around 500m of swimming. The phone stayed in the car when we went to the Beach and thus my Step Count is artificially low.

Tomorrow we go on an Ocean voyage.. a little like Thor Heyerdahl. (Well, just a little as it will be in the Pacific).

Edited at 09:21 AM.
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Old 6 Mar 23, 09:13 PM  
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Day 11. Waimea Valley Falls, Kayaking, Giovanni’s and a Snorkel on the North Shore. Wednesday 29 March 2023.. or Raindrops keep falling’ on my head’ by BJ Thomas.

Today was a day that had planning!

That blasted Cockerel Woke me at 0600 and we were moving at 0855, along the Coast and to Waimea Valley Falls, a well known beauty and cultural spot and available as part of our Go Oahu Card. A look outside showed that it had been raining.. but had stopped. Hopefully, several inches of it fell on the Cockerel.
It was a pretty run as always with beaches to the right and lush high ground to our Left as we drove the 8 miles or so.
Waimea Valley is well sign posted, has more than adequate parking and was already busy.
I am not really into Botany, seeing myself as more of an Amateur Ichthyologist personally and particularly after my fish identifications of yesterday. However! there is also a bit of the Amateur Ornithologist within me and I immediately identified this Hawaiian Moorhen.

The fact that there was a placard on the edge of the pond that he/she/they lurked in, was of course, irrelevant.

We moved on, into the valley. There were plants and trees aplenty and with name plaques throughout.

There was also rain.. again.

Eventually and after around 1/2 a mile we reached the beautiful. Waimea Falls. Yes, I agree that it does not compare with my son’s Horseshoe Falls images from last April, but this was a scene of beauty, rather than power.

Anybody could enter the water, but the wearing of a (provided) life jacket was compulsory. Mandie would not let me strip off to my Stars and Bars Boxers, so it was never going to happen for me. ☹️

There was also Culture, more Culture even than what exists between my toes! I forgot to mention about the Culture. Halfway to the falls were a number of Coconut Fibre roofed buildings, mainly open sided. There were staff on hand to explain what was being seen and various items to view.

An Ancient Hawaiian Hut (reconstruction)

In one of these Huts, a very nice lady showed us how to play the ancient game of ‘Konane’

It is a game of strategy and we were both advised that part of the etiquette of the game is to be Humble in victory. We played and suffice to say, Mandie took one hell of a ‘whupping’ from a vastly superior player. Dancing around upon victory whilst making an ‘L’ shape with my fingers on my forehead is by all accounts not Culturally appropriate. And neither is it traditional for the ‘Loozer’ to try and kick the Victor in the ‘Nuts’.

Portrait of a somewhat smug Konane Champion.

After an hour and a half in this beautiful location, we knew that we had to move on to an appointment at Haleiwa Beach. We both agreed that we would have liked to stay longer at the Falls. It is well worth a visit.

On our way back to the car, the Amateur Malacologist in me came out and I could not resist photographing this rather large, Giant Land Snail. Isn’t he beautiful?

Around 3 inches long.. although sore loser Mandie insists that I always exaggerate when referring to inches..

Then we were gone, heading further West to Haleiwa Beach, where we were to meet ‘Sea and Board Sports’ for a 3 hour Kayak, again from our wonderful Go Oahu Card.
Sea and Board Sports operate from a Van and Trailer, immediately opposite Haleiwa Beach Front Restaurant, the plushest building in Haleiwa and just as you enter from the East. The staff were friendly, informative as to where we would find Turtles and also offering Lifejackets should we require them. We did not.

Initially, we went up the river at Mandies insistence. Almost as soon as we entered it, a Paddleboarder pointed out a Manta Ray. It was around 6-7 foot across and was just below the Surface, a truly amazing sight and practically impossible to photograph.

Here, it is swimming towards our Kayak and it’s mouth is wide open.. about 2 feet across wide open.

Our day had been made within 15 minutes of picking up the Kayak.
We progressed up the river and were seeing Sea Turtles very regularly at first, but they seemed to peter out a little as the water became less Salty by the time we reached the Second Bridge.

On average, these Sea Turtles were 3 feet long or so.

Eventually, I persuaded Mandie that we should go back down river and out to Sea. This was a mistake, a mistake evidenced by no Turtle sightings in the next hour, partly and possibly because wind was now ruffling the water and in addition, there was plenty of glare.. and occasionally, a little more rain. We returned to the River and past the still present Manta Ray.

By the time that we handed the Canoes back, we had been afloat for 2 hours 40 of great entertainment and had seen well over a dozen Sea Turtles (as well as one Snapping Turtle).We felt accomplished, Master Mariners… although my back was aching a little. It was by now mid afternoon and we had eaten… nothing all day.

Mandie had been doing her research prior to travel and had learned of ‘Giovanni’s Shrimp Trailer’ and how highly recommended it was. There are two on North Shore one in Kahului and one in Haleiwa. Giovanni’s it was, then!
We drove just over a mile and found Giovanni’s (and many other Trailers ), dead opposite a rather uncorporate looking Mc Donalds.

McDonalds.. no arches here!

Giovanni’s was the only trailer out of a dozen or so that had a queue and in front of which, all of the tables were packed.

We joined the queue.
I ordered the Hot and Spicy Shrimp, that came with a warning that returns would not be accepted on the basis that the food was too hot.

A menu with a warning!

Mandie ordered Lemon Butter Shrimp. Lemon Butter Shrimp came with no warnings at all.

$36? I was not expecting much, when my number was called around 10 minutes later.

Those Shrimp are really big.. and plentiful.. and filling.

How hot was mine? Let us just say that it was the Hottest Food that I have ever tasted. It felt like somebody had lit a BBQ inside my mouth. It was also, absolutely delicious, the best food that I have had since arriving on Oahu, maybe even eclipsing the Dolan’s Pizza.

Mandie had scored a winner! She was as big a winner at selecting Shrimp Trucks as she was a (lousy) loser at Konane... but I now needed to cool my mouth (and upper lip). Fate intervened!

3 Scoops for $8.99 and 2 for $6.99. Despite my entreaties to Mandie that if she ordered a Triple, I would take one of her Scoops for a bargain $2, she insisted on only ordering a Double ☹️. Mandie’s skill at Mathematics were proving even worse than her skills at Konane!
Me, Pineapple, Strawberry, Vanilla .
Mandie Coconut and Pineapple (in the full knowledge that in the event she couldn’t finish it, I would never minesweep Coconut!).
She clearly still hadn’t forgiven me for the thrashing at Konane, despite how humble I had been in glorious victory.

Very full and very contented, it only fell to go in a Supermarket and buy some Alpha Maid, Orange and Pineapple cans at $5.40 for the 6 x 300ml cans, before returning to Turtle Bay.

You may well think that it was all over for the day… Well it never is, if I have any say. Whilst Mandie refused, I went out for a short stroll.
1. To Roy Yamaguchi, a Turtle Bay Hotel Restaurant in order to book Mandie’s Birthday Meal.
2. For a stroll and a Snorkel.

You will note a point. Just before that point, I met and spoke with a Fisherman. Within seconds, the most beautiful Sea Turtle swam in front of us.. and dived deep before I could get my Camera out. It was a true, specimen of its breed!

As we chatted, he caught something!

It was only a … humuhumunukunukuapua'a , the State Fish of Hawaii. Apparently, they make good bait.

Well, I wanted to see that Turtle. I popped into the Bushes and stripped off and into my Trunks, Mask and Snorkel. I was soon in the water. The only trouble was that it was rather choppy, sand was being churned up and the visibility was a little Cloudy.
This was the only decent shot that I got..

A Ring Tailed Surgeon Fish.. or Pualu, as we locals prefer to call it!

I got dressed and walked on to the point, where I knew that I would see a Pill Box from WW2.

This is the Pill Box. It was one of several that guarded a hastily prepared diversionary airfield at Turtle Bay.. called Kahuku Army Air Base. Were I to have been involved in WW2, then this would have been my dream location to see things out!

Let us be honest, every DIBBER reading, knew that I would return to Aviation at some point!

18003 Steps and I have just one, slight snag..

I purchased some new Reefs (with Bottle Openers in soles, of course, that have never actually been used on any of my previous 5 or more pairs) just before the Vacation as the old pair, veterans of 4 USA trips had sprung a Puncture in the Air Cushion.

My new Reefs.

Unfortunately, I had no time to wear them in and this is the result!

As my old Instructor (an undoubted Sadist) at Lympstone CTC used to frequently tell us.. “ Pain is simply weakness oozing out of your body”. I will emerge from my agony victorious, but only once that weakness has finished its oozing!

Edited at 10:59 PM.
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Old 6 Mar 23, 09:29 PM  
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Day 12. Secret Island Beach activities at Kualoa Ranch and some culture. Thursday 30 March 2023.. or ‘Pure Shores’ by the All Saints.

Today, were there a Cockerel to wake me, I didn’t hear him. Perhaps a person other than I, has resolved the problem.
It would seem that you can eat them!

Up at 0700, a quick reprise of my trip report, a pack away of yesterdays Washing/Tumble drying and we were off for 10.

We were to drive in a Clockwise direction and to Kualoa Ranch in order to visit their ‘Secret Beach’. The drive was to be around 20 miles and take around 40 minutes.
This drive was rather different to the other direction towards Haleiwa. It was far prettier and with the road practically against the beaches nearly all the way, to my left and with stunning, shear mountains away to my right. It truly was a beautiful drive, albeit the weather was a little overcast.

We were to arrive at the prominently marked Kualoa Ranch at 1050 against an ‘arrive by time’ of 1100. It was on the right, inland side of the road.

We checked in with our Go Oahu tickets to be issued a wristband along with instructions on driving to a landing approximately 1 mile away. If we had not been driving, then bus transport was available.

Close to the landing we saw this traditional boat.. it is made in the traditional Hawaiian manner.. of Glass Fibre.

The Landing. It may be familiar to those who saw the series ‘Lost’. It had a Submarine moored against it.

Like this. Apparently the Submarine was also fabricated in the traditional Hawaiian manner.. of Glass Fibre.. just like the boat that was to take us to the ‘Secret Island’.

The very secret boat (with 100 seats) that was to take us to .. the Island.. hence why I picked ‘Pure Shores’ as my tune of the day from the film ‘The Beach’ with Leonard de Caprio.

The trip was across an 800 -1000 year old Hawaiian Fish Pond.. more on that later. The trip, powered by a Mercury, rather than Oars took just a few minutes and upon arrival, we were given our rather secret safety briefing.
The Island had toilets, showers, changing booths and once we had crossed 75yds from Landing Jetty to Beach, plenty of Kayaks, Paddle Boards, Loungers, and a Glass Fibre, multi person Catamaran. Few would argue that the beach was extremely attractive and also well equipped.
It was made very clear that all activities must take place within some buoys around 75m off shore and giving access to around 200m of beach front, further that all use of their equipment must be with a life jacket… that may even have included the Volleyball!

The beach and with the Island of Mokolii in the distance.

A more atmospheric shot.

I decided to go for a Paddle, but got hacked off with the Lifejacket rubbing my ‘pits’.

I returned to shore and then went out Snorkelling instead… which was pointless, due to the milkyness of the Water and sparseness of Coral .. or Fish ..or visibility. I took these rather poor shots of land from the water instead.

And now.. my educational input for the day!

We had booked a trip around the Hawaiian Fishpond in one of the large, fibreglass Catamarans that had transported us to the Island and this was in fact, extremely interesting.
The Man Made lake has a 4000 foot wall around its edge, made 800- 1000 years ago by stacking up a pair of walls out of rock and then pouring Coral in between. This would have been carried out by a chain gang of workers and taken rather a long time. In places, the wall is 20’ thick. There are approximately 350 such ponds in existence, but only around half a dozen that can still function..

A map of the general area and showing the Pond, the Ranch, the Jetties, the Secret Island that is not an Island.

A Map showing the Pond, with its 4000’ wall along the bottom edge.

A Satellite image of the Pond.

The rather big disappointment is that the Secret Island is neither ‘secret’ nor an Island. It is simply a build up of Sand and other Sediment against the wall of the Fish Pond… Pretty, though.

Back to the technical stuff. Once built, the Pond had around 7 sluice gates. These gates had bamboo or similar bars within the sluice, the idea being that small fish and fry could get in, but after a certain time, they would become too big to get out again, continuing to grow ever larger in the well fed confines of the Pond. They could then be repeatedly harvested.. as they are to this very day under contract from the owners.

The lesson is now thankfully, over !

Here are some images taken from within the rather picturesque Pond.

An Island within the Pond, with a Colony of Egrets nesting on the trees.

A view towards the ‘Lost’ Jetty, with Mountains behind.

We were soon back on the ‘Non Secret, non Island’ , where I relaxed a little.. taking this one as I did so..

And then, all too soon, it was time to sail across the Pond and depart for adventures anew.. or simply food as other than a Cup of Tea upon waking, we had consumed absolutely nothing at all. It was now 1500 hours.

We drove back towards Turtle Bay and past the Polynesian Heritage Centre, intending to stop further North at 7 Brothers Restaurant. As we passed the Centre, Mandie noticed a Restaurant called ‘Pounders’ and out of pure curiosity, pulled up the Menu on Google. When she read out a Mango Mascarpone , Prosciutto and Parmesan Pizza, I did a U Turn in the middle of the Road and headed straight back. This I had to try.
Pounders looked rather nice.. and was part of the Heritage Centre, using locally sourced ingredients.

We sat down to order and at that time, I found that the Pizza’s were only 10 inches, hardly a ‘Pupu’, as we locals say. I never go below a 12 inch. That Pizza was no use to me at all. I went for a Mushroom Double Swiss Burger and Mandie a Pounder Special that had… Pineapple in it.

$45 spent on rather nice food and we felt a whole lot better.. not completely better, but ‘on the mend’. We departed and there in front of us was a shop advertising ‘Dole Whip’. It had to be done.

A Dole Whip float for me ($6.99 and thankyou for the tip, Babbymint) plus a ‘Small Dole Whip ($3.99) for Mandie.

Only it clearly was not very small and Mandie was fortunate that her Husband was on hand to help out.

It was now 1700 hours and as we were there, we decided to pop into the Polynesian Cultural Centre, courtesy yet again of our ‘Go Oahu’s’. On entry, we were informed that it was closing in half an hour, but that we could return at any time in the next three days, ideal in that we could get a sneak preview before deciding whether to return.
The Centre can best be likened to a good Theme Park, but with no rides. It was immaculately maintained, heavily staffed by pleasant people who wanted to educate and clearly, constructed with an attention to detail, rather than budget.
Here are a few shots that I took.

A guy demonstrating fire starting through friction between two bits of wood. Watchers were welcome to give it a try.

The Stern of a heavily decorated, Ceremonial Canoe.

A ship.

A rather scary thing that impressed Mandie.

A very pretty waterfall.

We had seen enough to realise that in probability, we must return and learn.. even though it involved Culture.

The day was done and it was time to return to Turtle Bay.

7139 Steps and a fair bit of swimming.

Tomorrow? I haven’t a clue, but will think of something.

Edited at 12:22 AM.
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Old 6 Mar 23, 09:29 PM  
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Day 13 North Shore stuff. Friday 31 March 2023.. or Carefree Highway by Gordon Lightfoot.

The plan today..was that there was no plan. We would ‘go with the flow’ and see where it took us.

I only had one objective in mind, to find my missing ‘Fatface’ Baseball Cap. This is a replacement for the one I infamously lost on Infinity Falls last April. It has now been missing for two days and after the last saga, I was embarrassed to mention my loss on the DIBB.
Whilst Mandie was getting up, I walked up to Turtle bay and round to Turtle Bay Pillbox in a vain effort to locate it. I was in despair, as I returned to the apartment … and found my Baseball Cap behind the Sofa.

Now after that early failure, back to positive things. The North Shore kind of ends at Dillingham Field, an old Army Air Force Base, not too far from Ka’ina Point. We thought that without a care in the World, we would head out in that direction.

As we left our apartment, we met the neighbour below us, a retired Doctor named Tom, who after introducing himself, said that strangely, most people called him Dr Tom!
Dr Tom has lived here for 43 years and spends his time simply walking and surfing. He seemed interested in what we had seen so far and suggested we visit nearby Kahuku Point, where we would see some great views. Whilst Dr Tom said that he always walked there, we could gain access by road. It was meant to be a day without a plan, so we decided to go for it.

Out of the resort, turn left and then go down Marconi Lane he said.. so we did. Unfortunately, the road came to an end with signs stating that we were on private property and there was no entry. This tempted me to use the Song title of ‘Road to Nowhere’ by Talking Heads…. but I resisted. Dillingham Field (in the opposite direction), it would be!

The drive through Haleiwa to Dillingham was as before.. pretty and after around a half hour, we passed the Oceanside Horseback Riding/ Polo Field, where we are to hopefully ride Horses tomorrow. Recce complete, we carried on a few hundred yards further to Dillingham Field.

Dillingham was a WW2 Airbase that put up some P40’s against the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour, but regrettably there is nothing left from its former days. It is now simply a Civilian used Airfield, whilst still being owned by the US Government.
Opposite the strip was a large, flat Beach and what was clearly a Surfers Paradise, beyond.

Me with my re-found Baseball Cap.

We are not very good at Selfies!

Time to go. Acting on a hot tip from one of the Lifeguards at the Not Very Secret Beach yesterday, we went for ‘Surf and Salsa in Haleiwa, a Hut amongst many other Huts and not too many hundred yards from Giovanni’s.

The order was..
A Tsunami Fries with Surf and Turf on top for me.

It had 9 Big Shrimp and was good. 7.5/10

A Surf and Turf Burrito for Mandie.

I do not not know how many Shrimp were involved as Mandie thought it childish to count them. 7/10, I am reliably informed.

Two plastic cups of Pineapple Drink. I spared you a picture, but 10/10.. at least.

The Bill was $46, about right I guess for the area.

It was time to move on as we had decided on an appointment with Shark Cove, famous because it is extremely unlikely that you will ever see a Shark there..
This place is very interesting.

A stolen image.

An image of my own.

It is interesting because there s a ledge/lagoon formed next to the cove that varies between 0 feet and around 4 feet in depth. It is full of fish and is utterly safe for non swimmers/weak swimmers to Snorkel in whilst actually seeing an awful lot. These were just a few shots that I took in that shallow area. Please be aware that it is practically impossible to walk in this Lagoon, due to the sharpness of the Coral. Wisely, I had left my Water Shoes in the apartment, a trend that was to continue for the remainder of the vacation.

There had to be a… humuhumunukunukuapua'a.

A Trumpetfish .. or Nunu as we locals call them.

An enigmatic looking fish that was hiding in a hole.

I am not sure about this one!

A Butterfly Fish.

Unfortunately the Sea was a little ‘bumpy today, so I felt it unwise to venture into the actual Cove and deeper water.
This had been my original intention.

It was time to return to our Apartment. I voiced the opinion that we should not be defeated on Dr Tom’s earlier suggestion that we go to Kahuku Point, northernmost tip of Oahu.
Mandie stated that she was more than happy with defeat (very different to her attitude after her Konane thrashing) and thus, I intrepidly set off on my own, whilst Mandie opted for a ‘Pampering foot mask in a pair of bags.

Regrettably, Mandie took no selfies.

The walk was around 1.5 miles each way, across the Arnold Palmer Golf Course and along Coastal tracks.
As I approached the point (alone), there was an area of Beach that was fenced off. It had a Monk Seal and Cub on it.

A Monk Seal and Cub. They are rather rare (apparently).

Beyond the Beach, the sand ended, to be replaced with Coral. The Ocean looked Fantastic and the images do not do it justice.

And then darkness was descending, so it was time to make my way back to the apartment. I am seemingly at one with nature, right now!

I was hungry and had been eying up my Pineapple these past few days, devising a plan of how to eat it. It was time for action.

First I lopped off the top (and bottom). For some reason I started thinking of a Former QPR Footballer called Trevor Sinclair’s, hairstyle.

Then I cut it in half, before slicing out the tough, centre core afterwards.

It was now a simple matter of seconds to cut out the juicy stuff in 6 inch long sections. Dole Pineapple Farm might be keen to hear of my technique!

Tomorrow is Mandies Birthday!

11,520 Step for me…. Around 1500 for Mandie… who now apparently has ❤️ soft feet😏. Sore? It was hardly as if she had been wearing my Reef’s, was it?

2005 onwards.. lots of times!

Index of all my Trip and Pretrip reports..

Edited at 09:37 AM.
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Old 6 Mar 23, 09:31 PM  
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Join Date: Nov 10
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Day 14. Hawai Polo trail ride in the morning, a nice walk on a damp afternoon... oh! and Mandies 50th Birthday. Saturday 01 April 2023.. or ‘Horse with no name’, by America.

Well, it was Mandies big day and the reason that we find ourselves in Hawaii. Mandies 50th!

I was up early, making her a cuppa (with Banana Bread), giving her an exclusive and extremely expensive Birthday Card and generally treating he as she deserves, simply for putting up with me! There was no actually Birthday Pressy, as I actually had an item in mind, upon our return to the U.K.!

We were out at 0900 and at Dillingham Beach for 1000 in preparation for a half mile backtrack to be at Oceanside Trail Rides for 1030. The location was very clearly marked and once in, the reception both warm and friendly… other than a Farrier, clearly contracted and working in a corner of the paddock. He was whining and moaning about his lot to the extent that I could have thought him an August Holidaymaker in Cornwall!

A very unhappy Farrier.

We had booked a Private, 1.5 hour Oceanside ride at a cost of $349.85 for the pair of us. These Horse rides have become a bit of a tradition for Mandie, as a pay off for my visiting Aircraft Museums. So far it has been San Diego and into the Sea, Kissimmee around the lake, Tombstone as a Cowgirl and now… Oceanside Hawaii. I treat her well! 😇.

There were 6 of us present, four to go out as a group whilst Mandie and I were to be taken out on our own by ‘Heather’. Our Horses were clearly sized from the information previously given and after a safety briefing, we were away. Hard Hats were mandatory.

All to soon, this lovely ride was over and we were back at the Paddock.

I had very much preferred this ride to our one in Tombstone in November, where we had chosen not to wear Hats, before finding ourselves going up and down steep inclines on extremely rocky surfaces and with the Horses frequently slipping.

Back to the car it was and a rather time consuming drive back to Turtle Bay, pausing only to stop in the Supermarket for Sandwiches, Soft Drinks and a bottle of Wine ($34).

Mandie wanted to go for a walk and those who have been reading along will know that I had several to choose from.
I chose the Pillbox Walk, in the hope of seeing Sea Turtles.

The Walk.

As we passed Kawela Bay it was very noticeable that the Sea was rather flat, in contrast to pretty much everywhere else that we had been on this day. This knowledge may come in handy tomorrow!

All that was left was to pass the famous Banyan Tree from Pirates of the Caribbean, en route to the road back to Turtle Bay.

It is hard to believe that this is a single Tree.

Education input alert….

The banyan tree is from India, and it is known for unusual growth of its roots. The roots descend or sprout from the branches into aerial roots towards the ground where they form new trunks. This results in growth of many trunks around the original, main trunk… Summary, they look really weird.

Mandies Birthday Dinner… AKA, my first ever food report

We had booked Roy Yamaguchi’s in Turtle Bay resort, by no means cheap, but recommended by another DIBBER.. (and Dr Tom downstairs). We are not fine diners, as many Dibbers will have guessed, but were willing to give it a go. It may even eclipse Denny’s!

The fixed price menu looked tempting at $99 pp including Wine.. and I was not expecting it to be £4.99 Asda plonk either!

The first course was of three samplers plus Prosecco… good Prosecco!

I am no great fan of Ribs, but they taste spectacular with Hoisin Sauce! 10/10

For Entree, we were both in agreement… Catch of the day that turned out to be Maui maui.

We both like Maui Maui and this was awesome with the Risotto and Lobster Butter (more like a Joue actually). 10/10.

That left the Dessert. They both looked somewhat tempting.. so we ordered both.

I have always liked Muscat.. or Sherry.. or Port and this one tasted wonderful. As Mandie was by then wilting, I had the pleasure of demolishing both Desserts! 10/10
ClaireNJ, you would have thought that you had died and gone to heaven!

The bill was settled and it was a lovely stroll back to the apartment.

What do I think of Roy Yamaguchi? Sometimes you have to pay a little extra in life.. and I have never eaten finer food. I am a confirmed fan.

15714 Steps .

2005 onwards.. lots of times!

Index of all my Trip and Pretrip reports..

Edited at 09:39 AM.
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Old 6 Mar 23, 09:33 PM  
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Day 15. Jungle Expedition tour at Kualoa Ranch. Sunday 02 April 2023… or ‘Welcome to the Jungle’ …. by the great, Hayseed Dixie!

Today was to be our second sampling of Kualoa Ranch after our previous visit to the Not very secret Island that was not in fact an Island. This time it was to be their Jungle Tour.

As is now the norm, I was woken up at 0520 by that blasted Cockerel .. and torrential rain beating on the window of our apartment, but only for an hour. Eventually and after an extremely slow start, we were out and heading down the East Coast to Kualoa Ranch, arriving at 1000.

Having checked in for our trip and with nothing else to do until 1100, we had a look around.

I met this guy, who seemed vaguely familiar.. Tyrannosaurus Tex!

And then his Dad. I believe that his name is ‘Rory’.

There was also a stuffed Terrydactyl. I believe it the State bird of Hawaii?

Eventually 1100 came and we were waiting by our truck, where ‘Jarrod’ was to be our guide.

Our truck awaits ‘Jarrod’.

The Truck was full and the track that we took, extremely bumpy. The wisecracks from Jarrod were on a par with those on Disney’s Jungle Cruise, frequent as well as excruciating. The views were absolutely stunning as Jarrod told the story of the Ranch, its ownership, working within the organisation and also their aims as regards preservation of the site, heritage and cultural History. Jarrod clearly loved the job that he has been doing for 7.5 years. He told me that the Morgan’s were the 6th generation of owners, that they were great to work for and were very generous indeed to staff, treating them more like family whilst working hard themselves. He added that they were reasonably paid, had frequent dividends and in addition, social events were arranged for staff. He further asserted that the Morgan’s very much had the best interests of the Ranch at heart and would never sell so much as a square inch of it!

We passed some Sculptures of Hawaiian God. Apparently the Woodcarver had 40,000 of them to choose from!

Mokolii island. Pretty even in the mist.

And some stunning views. This is the Hawaiian Fishpond from a few days back. Jarrod asserted that a Mosasaur lived in it during the Jurassic World filming. I am somewhat sceptical, as only a few days ago, I was told that this pond was only 6-10 feet deep. There is no way that a Mosasaur could have lived in there and I am becoming rather sceptical of this ‘Jarrod’ guy.

Then there was a stop and if you wanted, a 5 minute trek up a stepped track to a high point with further views. We wanted alright, but the views were not as good as those that we had already seen.

We then descended and passed through a gateway that was a set from a Film called ‘Triple Frontier, starring Ben Affleck, in which he and a group of Seals carry out a Heist on a Colombian Drug Lord. It sounded a bit far fetched to me as Seals would not survive for long, out of water. I have seen Dr Doolittle and know this stuff.

Then we came across a crashed Helicopter that had clearly been there a considerable time. We were assured that it had been swatted out of the sky by some Gert, big Gorilla. This sounded even more unlikely than the Seals robbing the Drug Lord. Jarrod was clearly unknowing that April 1st was yesterday and not today!

With the crazy stuff coming out of a clearly deranged Jarrod’s mouth, I did not feel it an appropriate time to inform him that we were looking at the remains of a Sikorsky HH53, Super Jolly Green Giant or that it had an incorrect Main Rotor Hub.

We moved on and came across something that I actually recognised.. the pen that the Indominus Rex escaped from in Jurassic World. I knew it was the right one, firstly because of the signage and secondly, because it still had the claw scrapes in the walls.

Some cages had been left behind..

What was really surprising about this set, was that the ‘compound’ only in fact had two walls and was not actually a compound at all. Indominus Rex could simply have walked out any time that He/She/They chose.. and without making a fuss about it… or eating anybody in the process.

All to soon, our 90 minute tour was over and we had returned to the Ranch. Jarrod had been humorous, entertaining and informative, certainly earning his tip. I will not be purchasing his joke book, though.

We had a further look around and then began our drive back to Turtle Bay, stopping.. at Giovanni’s, not the one in Haleiwa, but a different one in Kahuku (he also has a further one in Honolulu).

Whilst the other trucks in this area had minimal attendance, Giovanni had a long queue.

But we were soon served!

Hot and Spicy Shrimp for me.

‘Scampi’ for Mandie.. that looks suspiciously like Prawns.

Both were delicious and an absolute bargain at $32 for the lot. Is it no wonder that Giovanni’s is always busy?

Then it was back to the apartment. Mandie opted to do some work towards her Scrapbook (which I had forgotten to pack and is on the table at home), whilst I opted to go for a walk and a Snorkel.

The route bore remarkable similarities to other days..

Kawela bay, Mandie and I had looked at yesterday. When every other are was bouncing, this had been an Oasis of calm.. as it was today.
I stripped off, walked to the water, Mask, Snorkel and Camera in hand, where I was beckoned over by a Lady and Child. In about 2 foot of water and 5 feet in front of them was a Sea Turtle!

And that was as good as it got. Half an hour in the area marked 1, produced just two plain, dull fish and nothing else at all. The maximum depth of water was just 2 feet or so and it was utterly pointless.
I pulled myself back to shore as it was too rough under foot to walk and actually bumped into the Turtle just before I reached shore. The sea was too murky to see the Turtle, let alone photograph it. He/She/They was probably more surprised than I was.

I then moved to area 2, where I had chatted to the Fisherman and also, seen a Turtle a few days back. I got banged around, hit some Coral, the water was murky and all I saw were half a dozen Golf Balls and a very few fish, nothing worth photographing. I gave up and returned back to the apartment!

It was time to demolish the remainder of our Lays Chips and consume a Bottle of Wine that was conveniently lying in the Fridge… Barefoot and with Pineapple!
I like Barefoot, but have never seen this one before! It was really different and I will be searching for more upon return to the UK… probably fruitlessly 😂! (Jarrod has rubbed off on me!)

11107 Steps.

Tomorrow, we move!

Edited at 05:38 AM.
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Old 6 Mar 23, 09:35 PM  
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Day 16. Departing the North Shore and Oahu.. Eventually.

Today was always going to be a long day. We were originally scheduled to fly out of Honolulu with Alaskan Airlines at 2030.
A few weeks ago this flight was varied to 2248, which threw our plans into turmoil as we were due to return our Car to Avis, at their International Market location at 1400. We knew we were going to have a long day walking the streets of Waikiki, looking like a pair of Vagrants.. or we could spend some time on the Beach.. or both.

We woke up to torrential rain at Turtle Bay, so torrential that it started dripping through the roof of our lovely apartment, necessitating a call to maintenance, who arrived within minutes sucked his teeth and placed a bucket under it.. a bucket that I pointed out, had a split across the bottom. He was soon back with a waste bin.
We continued to tidy up, strip the beds, fold the linen, Hoover throughout etc etc. The Military in me never goes away and I like to leave things ‘straight’.

I had also been thinking about our forthcoming 6.5 hr flight to Seattle. That is a long way in a 737.. but fortuitously, an offer had popped on email. For $120 each, we could upgrade to Prem Economy. This gave us good legroom, limitless bar and food.. all extras in Economy. I took it!

We were away at 0930 and decided to drive back to Waikiki down the East side of the Island as we much prefer the views.

A serious bit now..

What I had forgotten to report to the DIBBERS following this thread, was that yesterday, my tyre pressure warning light had come on. A quick check had shown that the front near side tyre had a split in the sidewall and that two others had chunks gouged out of sidewalls. I had three dangerous tyres out of four!
I could have called Avis (on a Sunday) and demanded it be sorted out, but was well aware of how much time this was likely to take.
The Pressure warning light had also gone out.
Part of my decision to drive the East route was that it was practically all single lane (one each way) and the speed limit 45mph or normally, rather less. I certainly did not want a ‘blow out’ at higher speeds and had confidence that in any case, the electronic stabilisation within the Car would assist me to a halt.

We gingerly drove the 40 miles or so to Waikiki, filled up as we entered the City and returned the Car without issue.

A view through the front screen as we proceed.. Gingerly.
My conscience made me advise the Desk about the state of the Tyres! It was now 1300 hrs and we were hungry. We went for an old fave.. The Yardhouse… but of course we had luggage!

I had thought of this before leaving the Hyatt Place a mere 7 days ago.
I had chatted with Ryan, a really nice Porter and he had agreed to hold our bags upon our return to Waikiki, whilst we had an unfettered look around. Ryan was good to his word and took our bags!

The Yardhouse is modern, sport and beer oriented and typical Darden’s in that you know what you will get and regardless of where it is. I like Mr Darden and his chains!

Mandie had Ahi (Yellowfin Tuna) with Coke (in a glass).

I went for the Burger with Blue Cheese.. and a pint of excellent Cider (22 fl oz, they tell me, which is more than a US Pint?).

$64.. very well priced for Waikiki. Time for a Swim! We walked to the Beach and then along to the area to the East and in front of the Zoo. A quick change and I was in.. whilst Mandie watched.

I had swum at Waikiki Beach!

What to do now? Look at my emails was what to do now. It was a disappointment to find that our 2248 Flight was now… 0130!

At 1830 and after watching the Sunset..

Dispirited and generally down, we returned to Ryan at Hyatt Place to collect our bags.
Ryan saw us, took us into reception, let us plug in to recharge our phones and then said something awesome.
“I finish at just after 7, live not far from the Airport and would like to drive you there”.
You don’t get many Hotel Staff as kind as this. He had us at the Airport for 2000, utterly dismissing any payment (we had already tipped $20 for the baggage hold). He said it was simply nice to be able to help.

With the three hour further delay had come $48 in food coupons. After check in and Security, we went for Californian Express Pizza, two Pizzas and two Sodas.. free as Alaskan were paying!

Food eaten, we then had another 4 hours an 30 to wait.

That is it for today. We are stuck in the Food Hall and we will be into day 17 by the time we have anything further to update!

17605 Steps.

Edited at 11:13 PM.
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Old 6 Mar 23, 09:37 PM  
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Day 17. Spent at the Boeing Museum. Tuesday 04 April 2023.. or ‘Eight miles high’, by the Byrds.. eventually.

Eventually at 0050, our aircraft arrived on the ramp. It was quickly emptied, turned around and eventually lifted on its revised schedule at 0150.

Our seats were 3- 3 and with generous legroom. The only snag was the absence of in flight entertainment, even in the first class seats ahead of us. The seats themselves had very generous pitch and indeed, were very comfortable.

Stolen image of Prem Economy (note the sunlight through windows). I was in no mood to take images at 0100 plus and I guess, neither was anybody else.

The flight went smoothly and without hitch. Food and drink? I certainly did not feel like Alcohol and stuck to Orange juice. Food? pretzels, Biscuits and stuff in between intermittent dozing as we all tried to catch up on sleep. I honestly do not feel that there was a satisfied customer on the plane.. or steward, as they must have been just as tired as we were. Free food and drinks, yes, but paltry. I wonder if catering had even replenished the plane, given the delays. Even 1st Class only had Chips instead of Pretzels.
The IFE was no issue either. There were USB ports and there was a full set of features (for payment), but I just wanted to try and sleep as later today was to be rather important to me!

What we may well have looked like after dawn reared it’s head and we proceeded towards Seatac Int. Again, a clearly stolen image as I could not be outside the plane.

About an hour out of Seatac, We all started wakening up and returning to the real world. I struck up a conversation with the lady next to me. I had a fascinating chat about her near fatal Car Crash, her 38 Facial Operations since and the fact that she had been an ED Nurse, going through her own ED Ward in the initial phase. The poor lady was only 48, but the operations had clearly taken their toll on her, rendering her medically retired. She repeatedly asked for cups of Ice throughout and to soother her Mouth area. I was a listener and not a great contributor, thus having no knowledge of when the accident occurred or how. Much as I wanted to ask, the opportunity never arose.
The Lady was also very concerned that our ETA was 1045 and her connection to Kansas City was at 1015. If my day had been a bad one, I had the consolation that hers had been much, much worse than mine.

The plane was in, we were off and other than a fitful battle with a Malevolent and quite frankly bloody terrifying Tiki Mask that Mandie had purchased in Honolulu, we were soon through to baggage reclaim.
Baggage reclaim, you may well be asking yourselves? Well, at check in I had volunteered to put my Hand Luggage in the Hold (no cost). Short/Medium haul single aisle Aircraft are always short of overhead space and with all the snags, I could not be bothered with the possible struggle to find such space. On such aircraft, they also unload the hold real fast, so I envisaged no great delay in reclaim upon landing. I was guessing (Correctly) that this aircraft would be wanted back in the air again and pronto, trying to catch up more time in its delayed schedule.

I was correct. Our bags were up and available within a couple of minutes of entering reclaim. From Airbridge door to exit concourse had taken no more than 15-20 minutes.

Now, we had to find the Coast Gateway Hotel. I knew that it was half a mile down hill from the concourse and we decided that we needed fresh air. We walked.. another clear advantage of travelling so light, arriving at the Hotel at 1115, but aware that check in was not until 1500.

We never even had to try and look sad/ tired, even though that was undoubtably how we appeared. The Receptionist said that they had a room ready for us and we could check in straight away. Mandie looked like she was about to hug and even kiss her.
Things were looking up.. and looking up further when I checked my emails. Alaskan had sent an apology, asserting that there would be a further, $50 credit note emailed against a future flight with them. I will keep an open mind on that one!

The Hotel is an absolutely fine 3 star, well located on the main Road out from the terminal and seemingly a bargain at £114 including Breakfast.. with a $10pp credit note to be used in the Hotel. I am 3 star impressed!

The gentle, pavemented 1/2 mile stroll to the Coast Gateway Hotel.

The room is adequate, clean and the customary USA beige /brown decor.

The bathroom area was compartmented with wash area and beyond that, a toilet plus a shower with bath underneath.

The feel of the Hotel is 3 star, but well looked after and recently updated. That suits us just fine!

Mandie was all in and had no intention of leaving the room, however the day was yet young and I had big plans… (or was it planes), in mind.

I am in Boeing Country. Renton and it’s surrounds are where Bill Boeing started it all and where Boeing Field still exists, along with many other locations both in this area and worldwide. There is a very famous museum and I simply had to make my pilgrimage to the temple!

Seattle, Seatac, Tacoma, Renton, whatever is not a nice area to wander around blind and I would not even consider it at night, other than Seattle City inner limits.

Stanley Camel has been conversing and giving advice, valuable advice. I would previously have used the Metro from Seatac Int and walked the remainder… but not now.
I walked out of the Hotel, over the road and down to where the red blob is on the map I pasted.
The Rapidline route A to Tukwila Int Bvd Bus Station pier 3 was there within minutes.

A Rapidline Bendy Bus, identical to the one I used.

It is the usual, pay next to the driver system and $2.75. I went to place my dollars in the machine at which time the driver winked and said “Don’t worry”. How kind!
The Bus had a strange collection of Passengers, most wearing Hoodies that were pulled up over their heads and with several having scarves across their lower face. Strange! I clearly need a Hoody… and a Scarf… and a Scowl.. and an attitude in order to blend in better with the Locals to the area.

At Tukwila Station, the Metro has a stop overhead and there are only 3 piers at the location for picking up on a bus. The previous driver had told me that I needed pier 2.

This 124 bus arrived within a few minutes. I started putting in my 3 Dollars, but the driver stopped me after one, asserted that I looked like a Senior Citizen and took no more money. I didn’t know whether to be thankful or offended!

The driver further told me that he would advise on when to get off, which was helpful, as when the voice prompt asserted that next stop was Boeing Field and I moved to get off, he told me to stay put, dropping me instead at the next stop, right next to the Museum Door. I was now clearly thankful, rather than offended. I like these drivers!
Stanley, I am extremely grateful!

Steer clear of the next bit if you don’t like Aircraft. You have been fairly warned!

Boeing Field is still very active. Adjacent to the Museum, there was a brand new KC46 Refuelling Tanker going through ‘fitting out’ . The aircraft was in a compound dedicated to final fit of this and similar aircraft.
Over the active runway were further brand new Airliners going through final checks/ acceptance.

I walked past the legendary Red Barn.

This is an image the same building in 1917. It was later the location where both the B17 Flying Fortress and B29 Super fortress (Hiroshima and Nagasaki ) were drawn up.

Entry was $26 and within the Museum are 5 separate areas, Great Hall, WW1, WW2, Red Barn, Space and in addition, an open sided roofed building holding the larger stuff. An absolute bargain, as it turned out.

Here are just some of the Aircraft that I photographed in this, the largest private collection in the World. It was notable that the collection paid homage to many other Aircraft manufacturers, besides W Boeing.

A Boeing B&W Replica. The first aircraft built by Boeing.

A Boeing 40 Mailplane, the start of series production by Boeing.

An SR71 Blackbird with a D21 Drone mounted atop as per air launching. Each of these aircraft could exceed 2000mph at 90,000 feet.. at least .. and from 1964.. Concorde was good for 1400mph at 60,000 feet.. from around 1970.

An F1 Rocket Engine as used on Saturn V / Apollo Moon missions. Whilst early B747 Jumbo Jets were good for 200,000 lb of thrust on take off.. This single Engine could produce 1,500,000 pounds of thrust. Saturn V used five of these at launch.

A Statue of Amelia Earhart in front of an exact, flyable replica of the Aircraft in which she and Fred Noonan disappeared in 1937.

A Boeing B29 Super Fortress and WW2 Veteran.

In this complicated image, you can see a former Air Force 1. This Aircraft flew to Dallas on the day that JFK was assassinated, designated as Air Force 2 with Vice President Lyndon B Johnson on board. Upon the death of JFK, Johnson was sworn in as the new President on board Air Force 1, following the passing of JFK. That aircraft is at Dayton OH, and I have been aboard it.
Also in the image are..
The first B747 Jumbo Jet.
The first B737 (you can just see the tip of its tail).
The first B727.
The 2nd B787 Dreamliner.
A TWA Douglas DC3.

In addition, there is a little walk behind the Museum. This is a B52g that flew many missions in Vietnam, including the Linebacker series. It is looked after by a Veterans Association and preserved as a tribute to all who served in the theatre.

I could load up plenty more, but guess that by now, your attention is exhausted. Needless to say, a great afternoon was had by….Me!

Returning to our Hotel was a simple reversal of the way out. A
124 Bus to Tukwila ($2.75 paid) and a Route A to the Hotel ($2.75 paid) perhaps I didn’t look so tired (and old) after my ‘Boeing fix’.

Now for a meal. We were both starving. The nearest that looked remotely appetising was Denny’s about 100 yds away.
We were both there in minutes.. where a disinterested girl eventually showed us to a table and seemed a little put out that we couldn’t order straight away. When she returned, it was..
2 Diet Cokes (and she never refilled them).
A Huge plate of Nacho’s 9/10

A Bourbon Chicken Skillet for Mandie, who refused to mark it but said it was very good.
A Spicy Chicken Skillet for me 9/10

We went to the Counter to pay, as the Waitress after handing over the bill had not returned.. and there we found the root of the issue. Our Waitress could be seen out the back, hoovering and cleaning. The joint was clearly very, very short staffed. I actually felt for her.

We are now back in our room, trying to leave sleep as late as possible in order to help our body clocks.

11787 Steps.

Tomorrow, it is… downtown Seattle.

Edited at 04:57 AM.
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Old 6 Mar 23, 09:40 PM  
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Day 18 Downtown Seattle, then flight home to Heathrow. Wednesday 05 April 2023..Or ‘Big fish little fish cardboard box’, by Bob the Builder.

We had our best nights sleep of the whole vacation, waking at 0800. As you will find out however, this was not to be one of our best days. At the time of buying our tickets, our flight out of SeaTac to Heathrow was at 1825, but around a month back, It was moved on us to 2240. This meant that today would be a very long one indeed and that no great research had been done.

We went to breakfast, finding that this 140 room Hotel had just 20 seats in the Breakfast Room. Needless to say, all were taken and we had to wait to sit down. Breakfast was of a typical USA three star standard in every way.. with the addition of a Waffle Maker. You don’t always get a Waffle Maker!

At 0930 we were checked out, with the Hotel kindly offering to store our baggage. The Courtesy Hotel Shuttle then moved us to SeaTac, where we took the Link Light Railway into town.

Use of the Railway is simple and the signposting good.
The train runs from Angel Bay to Northgate, with SeaTac Airport being the first stop of the journey. It tends for large parts to run up what would be the centre island of a decent sized road, but interspersed with underground sections. It is electric, cable fed from overhead.
There are plenty of vending machines once you get close to the platform and a ticket to Westgate (what we needed) was $7 PP return. Strangely, the whole system works on a ‘trust’ basis and there is no ticket control or checking staff. I purchased tickets.

The Light Link Rail train to Northgate.

After a 40 minute journey, we were at Westgate, where we had to catch the downtown Monorail. This was a simple matter of getting out of our train in the basement and going upwards to the 3rd floor. Buying tickets for the Monorail was the same as before and.. $7PP return. There are only 2 stations on this line, Westgate and next to the Seattle Space Needle.

The Monorail train, that bore similarities to the WDW monorail, but on a larger, albeit shabbier scale.

On arrival, we only had one real objective and that was the Museum of Pop Culture, right next to the Station exit. We excitedly headed straight for it…

.. To find it closed on Wednesdays. Today is a Wednesday and this was clearly a major snag, given that we had planned on at least 3 hours there. We had a quick walk round the outside, marvelling at how ugly and badly assembled the Architecture was (gaps and I’ll fitting panels all over the place).. and then returned to the Space Needle.

It was relatively large.. as was the price to go up it.. $37 to look down on this bland City? forget it! New York and one world or even Toronto, it is not.

Chihuly Glass exhibition next door was $29? You can forget that too. We did go in their shop for a quick look around.

These were dinner plate size and varied in price between $6500 and $8500? They had their own, dedicated and very well dressed Security Guard standing right next to this display. He looked like a high class Personal Protection Officer.
I must admit that I was sorely tempted, to snap up a bargain, placing it in the same Cabinet as my Lego Disney Castle in my living room… but somehow resisted. I don’t know who this Chihuly Guy is, but he must be absolutely raking it in. (later research indicated that indeed, he is).

I was deeply impressed with the warmth and ambience of this ‘piece’ nearby and thus, Mandie took a picture.

‘Dandelions on acid’, I believe.

Clearly this Cultural Stuff is not for me. I don’t have any Culture, not even between my toes after 11 days in Flip flops and I realised that I was very much in the wrong place, with ‘art’ all around me.
Time to messenger Bill in Vancouver urgently, and he didn’t disappoint. Pikes Fish Market sounded sufficiently downmarket for a guy like me and we started towards it…

It was a return to the Monorail and the short hop to Westgate on the return half of my ticket. It was then a two block stroll down to.. Pikes Market!

This was very clearly more my style! .. low brow.

Immediately under this sign was the Famous Fish Market Stall.

There were people filming and people simply watching the antics of the Fishmongers. They were loud, shouting and singing. Every time a Fish was purchased, it was flung through the air from the display to the guy weighing it up.. several times and with no drops.

This one was about to fly! Does that make it a Flying Fish?
I was observing a brilliant example of how, with the right teamwork, attitude and sense of fun, a group can make even the most tedious and dull job, great fun.
When I posted this on Facebook, a longtime friend and Airbus employee informed that Pikes Fish Market was used by Airbus as a team building training example.

People have even written books about it.

It was time to move on and view the rest of the Market and surrounding area. It was colourful, vibrant and clearly a ‘happy’ place. I absolutely loved it (more than Mandie, as it happens).

Here is a view of the back of the place, giving an idea of the scale of things. All of the floors were given over to various market shops and stalls selling Fish!, Food, Second hand Books, Meat, Collectibles, Fresh Veg, leatherwork (more later), Flowers, Glasswork, Comic Books, pretty much anything that you can think of. It was an amazing place and I am not regularly amazed (other than by Aircraft Museums).

This image kind off sums up the Harbour Area of Seattle. Vancouver or San Diego, it is not.

When we left, we crossed the road to have a Coffee in the very first Starbucks..

.. But I was not joining a queue of 30 plus, just for a Coffee. Anyway, Mandie doesn’t even drink Coffee and I have decaf Nescafé.

Then I found a Swimwear Shop. I was sorely? tempted, but Mandie assures that I no longer have the body for it.

Time for Lunch and The Hard Rock it was too be.

Not the most impressive of frontages, but…

We entered and we’re told that there was a mandatory 22% Service Charge! I was outraged, but too hungry to walk away. We went in and sat down. This is Seattle at the end of the day, the home of Nirvana, Soundgarden, Jimi Hendrix, Pearl Jam, Foo Fighters, Alice in Chains, Heart and many others. The memorabilia must surely be good and in the absence of the MOPC earlier, Well, Lunch would clearly have to wait..
To be fair, they had a good selection, largely aimed at the City in question. Highlight for me was a regularly used Hendrix Guitar, similar for Kurt Cobain and also one of Nancy Wilson’s dresses. I used to love Nancy!

Food? .. Oh yeah.. we had Burgers and they were good.

My Surf and Turf.

Mandies classic.

$62 including that 22% tip that really grates with me. I generally tip 20% plus round up in any case if service is good… and Service was good.

Time was passing slowly and our flight was still a long way away. We returned to Westgate and had a look in Ross, Nordstrom, Sax etc, none of which meant anything to me as I don’t do shopping. Eventually, we caught the Light Link Railway back to Seatac, then strolling down the hill to our Hotel… after getting horrendously lost in the dump of an airport that is SeaTac.

We then spent a couple of hours in the Hotel Lobby after retrieving our bags, reasoning that anything is better than departure area seating. Other than the Breakfast seating arrangements, and perhaps 0830 was not a good time to attend Breakfast, this Hotel has been very good to us.

The Courtesy bus had us at the Airport for 1840 and we were at our gate by 1925.

What do I think of Seattle? It is a squalid dump with a very, very large homeless/ drug raddled community and quite frankly in places it was intimidating.
It did not help that tiredness and fatigue was setting in.
It did not help that my usual prior research was absent.
It did not help that I had been warned by several to be very careful.. and careful we were!
However, I can think of absolutely no reason why I would ever wish to return to this place ever again, placing it on a list that includes Kabul, Tehran, Damascus, Yemen and Tijuana.. other than the area around Pikes Market.

The Airport is lousy and disorganised by North American standards and I can think of at least 3 Major Cities on the Western Seaboard that are infinitely more attractive to visit. That view would not change, even had I had 14 hours of uninterrupted sleep. The experience was not good.

Still, I know that now! 😃

We are now boarded (our first ever Prem Economy ) and waiting to go. Bulkhead as well.. and even when I stretch out, my feet can’t reach that bulkhead. I could get used to this!

12185 Steps.

Edited at 06:35 AM.
cornishfrogboy is online now Boy Mouse Click to view Members Trip Plans Add Member to Ignore List

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