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Hawaii, Saipan, Guam, and Los Angeles

January 30, 2023

1/12/2022 Th – after having our flight from Dayton to Maui canceled at 10pm yesterday, I arranged for a flight from Columbus leaving at 5am.  So, we were up at 2am to get to the airport.  Five minutes from home I hit a deer.  Fortunately, I was still able to drive the car to Columbus, only to find that our flight was canceled!  After much ado, American Airlines got us a flight on United that left at 7am.  When we got to United, that flight was canceled. We had to rebook two more times to finally get a flight to Maui.  Also, we had to change our return flights because now our car was in Columbus and not in Dayton as originally planned!  We arrived in Maui at 10:30pm, 8 hours later than planned.  I rented our car from SIXT and got to our VRBO Kihei Bay Surf Condo at 11:30pm, where Kate was waiting.  She had landed nine hours earlier.

1/13 Friday the 13th – up early to get to the “Pride of Maui” leaving out of Wailuku for our snorkeling adventure at 8am.  We took towels, reef approved sunscreen, caps, warm clothes, etc.  A light breakfast was waiting for us when we boarded at 7:30am. The water temperature was about 75 degrees, air temperature was in the low 60s, with winds about 13mph.  That prompted us to rent wet suits.

We were treated to numerous humpback whale sightings and breaches on our 45min cruise to the Molokini Crater snorkeling site.

Though cold, it was a good site and we snorkeled for about 45 minutes.

Water Camera Photos –

We had a BBQ lunch and saw more whales as we then cruised to our “Turtle Town Snorkeling” destination.

Good snorkeling but no turtles today –

Drove to Lahaina, saw the Jodo Buddhist Mission, and walked the beach.

In 1982, Helen, Stacy, Peter, Kate, and I visited four of the Hawaiian Islands.  This is a photo of Stacy near Lahaina.

Kate had her first birthday on Maui, with a Pineapple Upside Down Cake! – July 20, 1982.

Kate – 2023

We had VOG today – that is, Volcano Smog from the eruption of Mauna Loa on the island of Hawaii.  I was not feeling well after our beach walk, so we returned to the condo.  I rested and hydrated while Helen and Kate went out to Kihei Sushi Ko for dinner.

1/14 Sa – started the day at the Kahului Swap Meet.  It focused on local handicrafts, so was not of great interest, but the small bananas were excellent!

In 1982, we drove the notorious Road to Hana, windy, gravel, and often one-lane.  I don’t know why these people were so happy!

The waterfalls at the end were worth it – Cliff jumping at Makahiku Falls

Peter and Stacy enjoyed sliding down into some of the Pools of ‘Ohe’o near Kuloa Point. These pools are also known as the “Seven Sacred Pools.”

Today we entered Haleakala NP about 11am and stopped at the 7,000ft Visitor Center

Haleakala means – “House of the Sun.”

Here is a 1982 photo of Stacy at the Leleiwi Overlook 8,840ft.

It is a 37-mile drive to the highest point on the crater rim (10,023ft) called the Pu’u’ula’ula Summit, about 30-degrees colder than at the beach!

The Haleakala Visitor Center at the 9,740ft level was not open today.

We did the short hike to the overlook on the Keonehe’ehe’e or Sliding Sands Trail

In 1982, we hiked about 2,500 ft down this trail to the Pu’u o Pele Cone in the Wilderness Area on the crater floor.  Note Helen carrying Kate.  We took turns carrying her on the 7-mile round trip hike.

Of course, we also carried food and water for lunch.  One of our funny stories is how we also carried a whole pineapple for dessert.  After cutting and eating it, we all ended up with very sticky mouths and hands.  Helen said, “No problem, just rub your hands in the black pumice and the sugar will just fall off leaving your hands clean – just like using sand on the Jersey shore.”  Well, it did not brush off and we all looked like hobos until we got back to our motel.

The Ahinahina or Silversword grows on the slopes of Haleakala and nowhere else in the world.  We were able to see some on our 1982 hike.

On our return, Kate searched Google for a place to eat and found a nice Food Truck Park with local selections near Kahului.  We returned to the condo and walked across the street to the 500-year-old Ko’ie’ie Fishpond.

We waded in to get a better look at the seven large Green Turtles that were resting on the rocks.

The Visitor Center for the Hawaiian Islands National Marine Sanctuary is nearby.    

1/15 Su – Had a great breakfast at a local place called the Tasty Crust in Kahului and then headed to the airport.  Kate’s flight to LAX was canceled and she was rescheduled, getting into LA later in the evening.  We departed at 11:20am and arrived at the Kailua-Kona airport on the Big Island of Hawaii at 11:56am.  Airplane view of Mauna Kea (left) and Mauna Loa (right).  Mauna Loa had stopped erupting.

Thrifty upgraded us to a new 4WD Jeep “Road Hawk,” which would allow us to drive to the observatories on top of Mauna Kea (13,803ft).  Our first stop today was the Pu’ukohola Heiau NHS.  This was our second visit to this site – we had previously visited all the NP Units on the island on previous trips.

We watched the video “Foundation of a Nation” that describes how Kamehameha I was destined to unite all the Hawaiian Islands.  A prophet had told Kamehameha that he would be successful if he built a Heiau or Temple to the War God Kuka’ilimaku or Ku atop Pu’ukohoa or “Whale Hill.”

It was built 1790-91 by moving stone hand over hand from the Pololu Valley over twenty miles away.  No mortar was used in the construction.

Kamehameha defeated his first cousin Chief Keoua, who controlled the south end of the island.  He then invited him to the dedication of the new temple and killed him and most of his party.  Keoua’s body was then carried to the Heiau and offered as the principal sacrifice to the War God Ku.  Kamehameha I would go on to conquer the other islands, then known to Europeans as the Sandwich Islands, to become the first King of the Hawaiian Islands.

One reason for Kamehameha’s success was his use of “modern weapons (e.g., a canon)” and techniques learned from John Young a British sailor stranded on the island in 1790.

We hiked the one-mile trail to the Heiau on the Hill of the Whale and then returned on a segment of the 175-mile Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail, which runs along the west coast of the island.

It was an hour drive south to Kaloko-Honokohau NHP.  We arrived at the Hale Ho’okipa Visitor Contact Station at 3:30 and had a half hour there before they closed.  We looked around the small contact station and then did the nature walk.  

The grounds remained open, so we drove to a parking area near the ocean and entered the park near the Pu’uoina Heiau and the Ai’opio Fishtrap.  It was an enjoyable walk to the ocean, past the fishtrap, and along Honokohau Beach.  High tide would bring fish into the pond for sustainable “farming.”

Had dinner at Keoni’s Point of View, a salty bar/grill in Kailua-Kona where we watched the Cincinnati Bengals defeat the Baltimore Ravens in an NFL Playoff game.  We then bought breakfast items at Target and drove to our Airbnb at an elevation of about 1,000ft up the mountain from the airport.  It was big and clean, but no AC.

1/16 MMartin Luther King Day – we were up at 6am for what would be the busiest day of our trip.  It took a bit over an hour to drive up Saddle Road (Rt 200) to the 6,632ft saddle between Mauna Kea (13,796ft) and Mauna Loa (13,677ft).  This road is now known as the Daniel K. Inouye Highway and is a huge improvement over the dilapidated two-lane road we drove in 1993 when I climbed Mauna Kea.  See my article at describing my 50+-mile sea to summit climb on my 50th birthday.  It was the most difficult physical effort of my life!  Mauna Kea is the highpoint of Hawaii and the tallest mountain on earth when measured from the sea floor.  However, Mauna Loa is the most massive mountain on earth by volume. 

We drove up through the Mauna Kea Ice Age Natural Area to the Onizuka Science Center at the 9,200ft level on the mountain.  Ellison Onizuka was a Hawaiian astronaut killed in the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion in 1986. 

This is the point at which State Rangers control further travel on the 4WD road.   First, we had to stay there for a half hour to see how our bodies reacted to the altitude.  They warned us of the effects of high altitude on the heart and lungs.  They then checked our 4WD vehicle and made sure we knew how to use it before allowing us on the windy gravel road to the observatories near the summit. 

It was 8-miles and an additional 4,000ft up to the observatories. And as you can see – a bit windy! The road from here to the top is paved.

There is now a sign discouraging people from continuing to the true summit of the mountain. 

It is about a quarter-mile down from the United Kingdom Infrared Telescope and up a cinder cone to the true summit at 13,804ft. The elevation was 13,796ft back in 1993 when I climbed it, so I guess the mountain is “growing.”

Helen convinced me that I should not do the hike to the summit marker. Besides, I had already been there twice.

Downshift and use low gear on your descent.

Mauna Loa in background

It took about an hour to get to Hilo and a Subway where we bought foot long subs – half for lunch with the other half saved for dinner.  Another half hour took us to the Hawaii Volcanoes NP Visitor Center at 4,000ft on the rim of the Kilauea Caldera.

As mentioned, our first visit to the Big Island was in 1982 and today we repeated some of the same hikes we did back then.  To start we took a half mile hike to the Waldron Ledge where we had a view of an ongoing Kilauea eruption.  We could see a dot of red magma and fire in the crater.

The Goddess Pele

We then did a two-mile hike along the crater rim, past the steam vents, and through the sulfur banks area.

It was then on to the Kilauea Iki Crater

It was steaming and quite hot when we hiked across it in 1982.

A short hike through the Thurston Lava Tube (Nahuku 0.3mi loop trail) was next.

That was followed by many stops along the 19-mile Chain of Craters Road down to the Pacific Ocean.  We had walked over magma flowing under our feet here in 1993.

Today the lava was cooled into intricate formations.

We met a couple from Singapore at the Kealakomo Overlook.  She took a photo of me taking a picture of Helen and then transferred it to my iPhone.

We met them again at the Holei Sea Arch

Some splendid views here as the waves crashed against the black lava.

It took 1.5hrs to drive back to the Visitor Center and then continue on to the “potential” South Kona National Heritage Area (NHA).  Our first stop was Punalu’u Black Sand Beach Park near the south end of the island.

In 1982, we visited a black sand beach with Peter and Stacy

We ate the second half of our Subway sandwiches as we drove to Ka Lae “The Point.” Along the coastline of the “potential” South Kona National Heritage Area – there is Honomalino Bay, Kapua Bay, Pōhue Bay and Ka Lae, otherwise known as South Point.  Pōhue Bay is one of the few untouched places in Hawaiʻi.  This area is home to a number of historic trails, heiau – or sacred sites and temples, petroglyphs and other cultural features, and Pōhue Bay is also a prime nesting point, an area for the endangered hawksbill sea turtle.  In the north, Honomalino, is a black sand beach and is one of the most picturesque sites on the island of Hawaiʻi.   

The sun was setting in a cloudy sky as I got to the Light Station at South Point – it is the Southernmost Point of the U.S., January 16, 2023.

I was at the Easternmost Point of the U.S. – West Quoddy Head Lighthouse in ME on July 21, 2022.

And I was at the Northernmost Point of the U.S. on the Arctic Ocean – Point Barrow AK (note whale vertebrae) on September 8, 2022.

The Westernmost Point of the U.S. is on the west shore of Attu Island, which is the last island in the Aleutian Chain of islands stretching from Alaska into the north Pacific Ocean.  The Japanese invaded Attu and Kiska islands in 1942, six months after Pearl Harbor.  In a major offensive, the U.S. and Canada retook the islands in 1943.  Attu is only 208 miles from the Commander Islands of Russia.  Attu is the largest uninhabited island in the U.S.  In fact, the International Date Line does a jog so that it passes west of Attu so that all of Alaska can be on the same day.   It is now next to impossible to get to the Westernmost Point of the U.S.

The closest I got was on September 5-6, 2022, when I was in Unalaska (Dutch Harbor) AK visiting the Aleutian World War II National Historic Area – See Blog for September 2022.

Peter and Stacy at the Southernmost Point of the U.S. in 1982

Looking back at the Light Station from “The Point,” 2023

The drive back to our Airbnb in the dark and rain seemed longer than the two hours that it took.  We arrived at 9pm, it was a 15-hour day.

1/17 Tu – we had an easy morning driving south down the west coast of the island.  This was Helen’s morning, so I followed her directions to five Thrift Stores – nothing purchased, can you believe it!?  We did buy some oranges along the way.

We arrived at Pu’uhonua o Honaunau NHP at about 11am.  This is another Hawaiian Historical Park that explains the societal structure, culture, and everyday life of early Hawaiians.   You can see the Royal village nestled on the coast in the following photo.

Good photo of Konane -a Hawaiian strategy game played with black and white pebbles; Keone’ele Cove where only ali’i (royals) could land their canoes; and the Hale o Keawe or royal mausoleum housing bones of at least 26 ali’I, including Kamehameha’s great-grandfather.  Note the Great Wall extending to the left of the Keawe.  The ocean side of the 12 foot tall, 18 foot wide, and 950 foot long wall was the Pu’uhonua or “Place of Refuge.”  If a person was guilty of breaking rules or perhaps an enemy, he/she could try to get to the Place of Refuge for safety.  They would have to swim in from the ocean side over the jagged lava rocks.  If they succeeded, after a few days, priests could absolve them of their “sins” and then they were free to go. 

2023 photo of me with the Hale o Keawe in background.

1982 Photo looking back at the Royal Grounds with me holding a coconut.  Peter and I worked for over a half hour to break it open so we could drink the juice and snack on the meat.

Two Ki’i – wooden images of Hawaiian gods

Photo from the Pu’uhonua side of the Heiau

Note gold colored fish –

This Halau or house now serves to protect canoes and other artifacts.

Stacy built this model on the beach at this site in 1982.

After Hawaiian BBQ Bowels for lunch, we drove to Kamakahonu National Historic Landmark (Kamehameha’s home) and the related beach that is next to the Kailua Pier.

Helen snorkeling in the Bay

In 1993 we used Jack’s Diving Locker, which is located at the Pier, for both SCUBA and Snorkeling – Helen sitting.

We watched young male and female paddlers leave the harbor for evening practice.

They cheered as numerous dolphins displayed their jumping skills.

1/18 W – lazy morning, caught 12:40pm flight to Oahu.  There was at least a one hour wait at Thrifty rent a car.  So, I confirmed a Mustang convertible rental at Budget and then canceled the Thrifty rental.  Had to do that to make our 3:30pm reservation ($1 each for reservation fee at for our Navy boat tour to the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor N MEM.  Stacy, Peter and I were able to visit the memorial in 1982 but Kate was one-year-old and was not allowed on the boat. Helen stayed with her at the Visitor Center; so, this was her first visit to the remains of the battleship.  This photo shows the memorial on the left and the USS Worden guided missile cruiser in 1982.  The Worden was launched in 1962 and then scuttled in 2000 off Hawaii during Navy target practice.

It was the last 45-min tour of the day.  Arizona Memorial in 1982 and 2023 –

After World War I, the Japanese expanded its territory (by force) to provide for its growing population.  It saw the U.S. as a threat to that expansion.  So, on December 7, 1941, it launched the infamous surprise attack on our western fleet at anchor in Pearl Harbor.

The greatest loss of life occurred on the USS Arizona when a 1,760-pound armor-piercing bomb slammed through its deck and ignited its forward ammunition magazine, 1,177 of its crew perished in less than 9 minutes.

A total of twelve ships were sunk and nine others were damaged.  U.S. losses were ~2,400 killed, ~1,200 injured, 164 aircraft destroyed and an additional 159 damaged.  All ships, with the exception of the Arizona and Oklahoma were salvaged and later saw action in the War. The museum and outdoor signage describe the prelude, attack, and aftermath.  Age of the Battleship –

Six Japanese aircraft carriers took part in the operation.

How the Nakajima “Kate” carrier torpedo bombers attacked the ships at Pearl Harbor.  The Japanese attack code was “Tora, Tora, Tora.”

The USS Missouri, on which the Japanese surrendered in Tokyo Bay on September 2, 1945, can now be toured at Ford Island (Battleship Row) near the Arizona Memorial.  We toured the ship in 1969 when it was part of the “Mothball Fleet” at the Bremerton Naval Shipyard on the Olympic Peninsula, across Puget Sound from Seattle.  Photos from 1969 –

The USS Missouri was re-activated in 1984 and recommissioned in San Francisco in 1986.  She served in the Gulf War (1991), was decommissioned in 1992, and eventually returned to Bremerton WA.  In 1998 she was towed to Pearl Harbor to be docked within 500 yards of the USS Arizona.  Here she is in 2023 –

We had a four-night stay at the Ramada Plaza by Wyndham a couple of blocks from Waikiki Beach.  It was reasonable and proved to be a good location for our visit to Honolulu and the island of Oahu.  Dinner was from a Mexican food truck about a half mile from the hotel.

1/19 Th – splurged and shared the Sirloin Tips breakfast at IHOP around the corner.  However, we never returned as it took 1.5hrs to get out of there because of a lack of cooks.   Still, it was not a problem because the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i ($10 adult) did not open until 9am. 

They are the temporary Visitor Center for Hono’uli’uli National Historic Site a new (2015) NP unit that has yet to be developed.  The foyer of the museum has a large display devoted to this Japanese Internment Camp, which also housed German and Italian Internees as well as Japanese Prisoners of War.

Hono’uli’uli opened in 1943, covered 160 acres, and became the largest and longest-used confinement site in the Hawaiian Islands for US citizens and residents of Japanese and European ancestry arbitrarily suspected of disloyalty following the attacks on Pearl Harbor.

A total of about 400 civilians were incarcerated in Hono‘uli‘uli throughout the course of the war.

Approximately 4,000 prisoners of war were confined at Hono‘uli‘uli in five compounds, and were divided into separate quarters by military rank (officer vs enlisted men), function (combat troops vs labor conscripts), and in some cases, country of origin. 

We visited the actual Hono’uli’uli site in a ravine about a half hour from Honolulu.  An aqueduct separated prisoners of war from incarcerates. The aqueduct provided water for both internment and prisoners of war camps.  The camp closed in 1946.

1/20 FSnorkeling Day – When planning this trip I spent hours trying to get entrance tickets for Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve, State Park.  I continued trying to use their web site while in Hawaii but to no avail.  So, this morning I was up at 6am to drive a half hour to the park to get two of the limited “walk-in reservations” when they opened at 6:45am.  I then drove back to Honolulu to pick up Helen and our McD’s breakfast and headed back to the park.  We arrived just before our scheduled 9:30 entrance time. Parking is only $3 but space is limited. They permit thirty walk-ins every 15 minutes until 1:15pm. If you are not there on time, you lose your tickets!  The beach is open 6:45am-3:15pm W-Sun.  It is a marine life conservation area and underwater park.  There are many employees, and they work hard to protect and preserve the reef. 

We paid the entrance fee ($25 each), watched their 9min video, listened to their safety and rules lecture, and then walked down to the Bay

We picked up our snorkel equipment ($30 each) and opted for the wet suit top instead of the PFD.  Morning view of the Bay and Koko Head.

When we arrived it was close to Low Tide, so there were only a couple of feet between you and the reef all the way out to the break water.  Helen followed an octopus for about 20min until it went in a hole to get away from an eel.  

In the afternoon, she followed a multi-brown colored “Flying Gurnard” bottom feeder.  It had a large rectangular head, little fins to stir up sand for feeding, and large well-developed wings to maneuver.  At one point it lifted an antenna from its head.  The rangers said that no one had seen that fish here before.

Took another evening walk and ate at the Sura Hawaii Korean BBQ.  We found it interesting that we were not permitted to take leftovers with us.  It might be a food safety thing.

1/21 Sa – The National Heritage Area Act (12/22/2022) – established the National Heritage Area System (Community-Led Conservation and Development) in the Department of Interior.  As of 2023, 62 National Heritage Areas (NHAs) have been designated.  A new goal for me is to visit all these areas.  Fortunately, I have already visited most of them.  I try to stay “ahead of the game” by visiting areas that have been proposed for inclusion in the system.  Such was the case here in Hawaii for Ka’ena Point, the western most point on the island of Oahu.  So, today I traded our Mustang convertible for a 4WD Jeep to access this area.

Kaʻena Point, from Makua to Waialua, is the site of the last intact sand dune ecosystem in Hawaiʻi and is said to be named after a sibling of the Hawaiian goddess Pele. Kaʻena Point also includes a leina ka ‘uhane, an important cultural site that, according to some Hawaiian traditions, is where the souls of the deceased leap into the next plane of existence and are reunited with their ancestors.  Ka‘ena is also home to various protected species including laysan albatrosses, wedge-tailed shearwaters, monk seals and fragile native plants.  Today was the first cloudy day of our trip and it started to rain as we entered the park.

At the end of the paved road, I put the Jeep into 4WD and we bounced and splashed over a rough one lane track for about a half mile until we reached a closed gate.

We sat there for half an hour deciding whether or not to hike further along the coast toward the point.  While waiting, a Hawaiian carrying a heavy ball on his shoulder passed by our Jeep. 

The weather forecast was rain for the next two hours.  So, we decided to head back toward Honolulu.  When we got to the paved road, we were stopped by police who said they were looking for the man that passed by our vehicle.  Continuing, we drove by a Space Force Station

And then stopped at Kaneana Cave (Makua Cave).  It is named for the Hawaiian god Kane, who represents the god of creation. For Hawaiians, this cave is believed to be the beginning of human creation.  

We had to be careful because Nanaue – Shark Man lives in the cave and is known to eat humans.  Our headlamps illuminated floral offerings left for Nanaue.

After returning to Honolulu, we walked Waikiki Beach and then had pizza while watching the Cincinnati Bengals defeat the Buffalo Bills in another NFL playoff game.


Photos from 1982 – >40 years ago!

Polynesian Cultural Center 1982

Coconut Dance

Dole Pineapple Factory

1/22 Su – Travel Day, dropped Helen off for her 8am flight to LA, returned to the hotel and prepared for my 3:15pm flight to Guam.  Arrived in Guam (8 hour flight) at 7:15pm local time 1/23/23 – I had crossed the International Date Line.  Took a taxi to the Guam Airport Hotel and crashed.

1/24 Tu – I was up early to catch my 8am (45min) flight to Saipan.  It is the main island of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI).  Landing on Saipan – Mt Tapotchao (1,545ft) in background.

My objective was to visit the American Memorial Park, which is an Affiliated NP Unit, as well as other sites on the island related to the Battle for Saipan during World War II.  It took place June 15-July 9, 1944, to unseat the Japanese occupiers.

After the attack on Pearl Harbor, the U.S. mobilized and started planning its strategy for the invasion of Japan. In order to do that, it needed “stepping stones” (islands) to move its forces and supplies closer to the objective.  The Mariana Island campaign was part of that strategy.  Our forces started with Saipan, then took Tinian followed by Guam.  My first stop was at the Japanese air raid shelters near the airport.

Some of the Japanese structures have been re-purposed.

Nearby is the Japanese Memorial of the Dead

Our forces attacked along the southwest coast of the island.  This is a coral reef area with beautiful sandy beaches.

Some armaments remain – an American tank that did not make it.

Japanese tank

The American Memorial Park is in Garapan, the capital of the CNMI. 

The Court of Honor and Flag Circle – The American Flag is displayed at the center of the Flag Circle and is surrounded by the flags of the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Army and U.S. Coast Guard, the armed services divisions that participated in the campaign.

The Marianas Memorial is nearby – it is dedicated to Indigenous Chamorros and Carolinians of the Northern Mariana Islands who died during World War II. Caught in a war not of their making, the people of the Northern Marianas, like many civilians throughout the Pacific, became victims of war. The Marianas Memorial honors Chamorros and Carolinians who lost their lives as a result of war-related causes from the beginning of American aerial bombardment in Saipan on June 11, 1944, to the closure of civilian camps on July 4, 1946.

Ranger Kaneshi mailed me helpful information before my visit.

Watched the video, toured the museum, bought postcards and a park T-shirt

Drove to the North of the island, which was the last to fall to American forces. Last Japanese Command Post

Korean Memorial

Okinawa Memorial

Japanese Peace Memorial

As American forces progressed across the island, Japanese propaganda leaflets were distributed that stated the soldiers would kill all males and take the women and children away in their boats.  As a result, many individuals and families committed suicide.  This is Banzai Cliff, one of the places families came to die.  They would line up by age with the second youngest pushing the youngest over the cliff.  This would continue until the eldest jumped to his/her death.

Additional Memorials across the street

Another suicide location was “Suicide Cliff” in background.

The taking of the Japanese airstrip, which was renamed Isley Field, allowed our CBs to expand the runways to accommodate our long-range B-29 bombers.  

The subsequent taking of Tinian and Guam resulted in additional runways, which then permitted the U.S. to use its long-range bombers to bomb Japan.  August 5, 1945, the B-29 Superfortress “Enola Gay” took off from Tinian carrying the atomic bomb nicknamed “Little Boy,” which was dropped over Hiroshima.  Three days later, the B-29 “Bockscar” (on display at the U.S. Air Force Museum near Dayton OH) left Tinian and dropped a second atomic bomb, “Fat Man,” on Nagasaki, Japan.  The devastating results of these bombs led to the surrender of Japan, September 2, 1945, on the USS Missouri anchored in Tokyo Bay.

I got settled in the Saipan Beach Hotel, and then went to the Naked Fish Restaurant across from the American Memorial Park for some delicious Fish Tacos.  I brought a roll of CNMI Quarters with the American Memorial Park on them for distribution while on the island.  These locals, building a traditional canoe at the beach, were happy to receive them.

1/25 W – Left Saipan at 9:50am and arrived in Guam at 10:35am.  Payless car rental upgraded me to a new BMW SUV, and I started driving south on Rt 1 along the west coast of the island.  This was my second visit here – see Blog for April 2015.  I passed through Hagatna (capital) and stopped at the Asan Beach Unit of the War in the Pacific National Historical Park.  This was one of two locations where U.S. forces came ashore on July 21,1944.

My next stop was the T. Stell Newman Visitor Center.  It was closed today but an employee kindly let me in.   

Agat Bay was the second location where US Marines and Army troops stormed the beach.

I had two objectives for this visit to Guam.  The first was an attempt to climb Mt LamLam (1,332ft) the highpoint of the island. 

I found the trailhead across from the Cetti Bay Vista Point.

I brought water and snacks and was ready to go at 2pm.  I carried my camera on a tripod in one hand and had my hiking stick in the other.  Mt LamLam on the left, Mt Jumullong Manglo (1,263ft), with a cross on top, is on the right.

The path (unkept trail) is steep and slippery in spots and passes religious altars and crosses along the ridgeline.  Locals carry big wooden crosses on their backs to the summit of Mt Jumullong Manglo early on the morning of Good Friday.

Umatac Bay from trail

Long story short, it was 90 degrees with high humidity and insects on a steep, rough, slippery trail through razor grass and thick vegetation growing over lava rock.  I made it about two-thirds up the mountain and decided that, for safety, I needed to turn around.  In fact, near the bottom, I slipped on some loose dirt and ended up with a few bruises on my left side and a swollen hand.  Thankfully, I protected my camera.  Here is a photo of the Cetti Bay Overlook taken from a point close to the bottom of the trail.

You will recall that I stated that Mauna Kea, the highpoint of HI, was the tallest mountain on earth, when measured from the sea floor – 33,000 feet.  Well, the greatest vertical distance between two adjacent points on earth is between the bottom of the Mariana Trench and the top of Mt LamLam – 37,533 feet.  Mount Everest is 29,032 feet.

An Oreo McFlurry seemed like a good option for a snack on this hot day.  I dropped my bags off at the Harmon Loop Hotel and proceeded to my second Guam objective – the Ritidian Unit of the Guam National Wildlife Refuge.  It was one of the highlights of our Guam trip when Helen and I visited in 2015.  I arrived at 5pm – check the hours on the sign.


Since I could not enter, I started searching a primitive back road for some other access to the beach.  After about a half hour I found the Ritidian Beach Eco Camp.  I took the steep descent to a structure just above the beach.  There was a small group there enjoying the beach and drinks in a pavilion.  I spoke with a photographer who was setting up his camera.  He stated that he photographed tourists as they did two ATV tours of the area.  The “Jungle Tour” was in the morning and the “Beach and Star” tour was in the afternoon and evening.   He was preparing for the latter.    

I noticed that my car was the only one down there, all the people had come in large ATVs.  I looked back at my descent route and saw why – a steep decline with a couple of sharp turns.  I carefully backed up and tried to go up – no luck, wheels spinning.  Fortunately, my BMW had 4WD.  After I locked into low, I was able to slowly make it out of there.  The photographer had suggested that I stay around until dusk to see him photograph the Korean tourists against a starry sky with the reflection of the moon over the ocean.  So, I parked at a spot I could exit from and walked back to the beach for a stroll.  The day tourists had left, and those that remained for star gazing and photos were off eating a prepared dinner.  So, I had the beach, all the way to the cliffs where the Wildlife Refuge was located, to myself.

It was one of those special times you have during your life – walking through small waves along a pristine beach while the sun set, and the moon and stars rose in the darkening sky.

I listened to the astrological lecture from the Korean tour guide (in Korean!) and then watched with interest as some of the clients posed for and paid for their photos.  You can get some idea of the kinds of photos taken from the pics that follow, but they cannot compare to the classy professional ones taken by the photographer.

As I was leaving, I had to be careful not to hit feral pigs crossing the road.

Got back to the hotel late, had a beer and snacks while I wrote my diary.

1/26 Th – Helen’s Birthday! 1pm 4-hour flight to Tokyo, 2-hour layover in the United Lounge, and then a 10-hour flight to LAX. The plane left Japan at 6pm and landed in LA at 11am on the same day I left (again crossed the International Date Line). The long flights on this trip had irritated my back, so I splurged and at the last minute bought a Business Class upgrade for $999 – very unlike me, I got my flight on rewards points.  BUT I was able to write in my diary, read, AND stretch out in a horizontal position and sleep!

Landing in LA – can you see the Hollywood sign?

Kate picked me up; we stopped at the bank to buy quarters – limit of $100 each.  I was searching for D mint marks on select National Park quarters to complete sets for our grandchildren.  That was followed by a stop at Vons grocery store.  Not surprisingly, we found Helen working with plants on Kate’s patio.  Kate prepared dinner and an apricot tort for Helen’s 78th birthday.

1/27 F – Goodwill shopping, exchanged quarters at the bank, and then foot peddled a Swan boat at Echo Lake.

We had a very enjoyable and delicious dinner at the Perch Rooftop restaurant overlooking LA.  This was a Christmas present (2022) from Kate.  She reserved the best (corner) table on the rooftop.  Not only that, the bartender knew how to make an excellent Manhattan!

1/28 Sa – Had our traditional large Mexican breakfast (brunch) at Millie’s and then drove downtown to the La Brea Tar Pits.

The tar, really asphalt, has been trapping animals for thousands of years, and is continuing to do so.

On-going excavations –

You can bring up holograms on your phone of some of the animals discovered here – great fun for kids like me.

We then drove to the Olvera Historical District and Mexican Market in central LA by Union Station. The Avila Adobe, part of El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument, is the oldest building in LA (1818).  Had dinner at the El Paseo Inn; waitress made delicious fresh Guacamole at our table. Kate bought new sandals and a yellow woven blanket.  I thought they both deserved a serenade before we departed.

1/29 Su –Our flight departed LAX at 11am, we had a 3-hour layover in the United Lounge in Denver, arrived in Columbus at 10:30pm, and were home about midnight. 

It was an enjoyable trip with many concomitant learning experiences.


NP Units in Seattle and near Portland OR

October 26, 2022

9/11 Sun – Helen picked me up at 9:45am at the Four Points Sheraton near the SEA-TAC airport and we drove to the Seattle Unit of Klondike Gold Rush NHP.  We visited the Skagway Alaska Unit of the NHP in July 2011 – see Blog.  We also visited this unit on our way home that same year, but I lost my photos.  The Visitor Center is in the 1890 Cadillac Hotel.

As we went through the displays, we dutifully did the embossing stamps and rubbings in our “My Journey” booklet.

Gold, Gold, Gold – over 100,000 people went on the quest to “Strike it Rich!”

How many made over $15,000 in Gold (worth $330,000 in 2005)?  Spin the Wheel –

The Cadillac Hotel is in the Pioneer Square National Historic District of downtown Seattle. Before the City – A Duwamish Village

Pioneer Place Pergola –

Pioneer Building (1892)

Chief Seattle

In the afternoon, we visited the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience an Affiliated NP Unit.  It is in Seattle’s Chinatown ­International District ($15).

Wing Chong Luke immigrated to the U.S. in 1931 when he was six.  He earned the Bronze Star in World War II and was elected to the Seattle City Council in 1965.  He fought discrimination throughout his life and was an advocate for the benefits of cultural diversity.  When he died in a plane crash in 1967, this museum was established as a memorial.

I found it interesting that the museum includes many Asian cultural groups and religions.  Magnify this photo to get a sense of the vast coverage.

Examples of different Asian altars

Muslim sculpture – Marriage

Central Gallery

Diversity as Struggle and Strength

Special Exhibition Gallery – Where Beauty Lies

Afterward, drove to Portland for a family dinner and stay with Vera

9/12 M – It was a 2hr drive to Ecola State Park on the Pacific Ocean, which is a part of Lewis and Clark NHP.  On January 8, 1806, Captain William Clark led a group to a Tillamook Village on a creek that he named Ecola or Whale Creek.  Clark purchased 300 pounds of oil and whale blubber from the Indians.

My next stop was the Historic Netul River Canoe Landing site of the L&C expedition.  The river is now named the Lewis & Clark River. The landing site is about 2mi upstream from the Columbia River.

After the Louisiana Purchase (from France in 1803), President Thomas Jefferson recruited Captain Meriwether Lewis to lead an expedition to explore the Missouri River to its source, establish the most direct water route to the Pacific Ocean, and make scientific and geographic observations along the way.  Lewis then selected Captain William Clark, his friend and former commander, to share responsibilities.  The expedition left the St Louis area on May 5, 2004.  The expedition was known as the “Corp of Discovery Expedition.”

On November 7, 1805, they saw the Pacific Ocean from the mouth (estuary) of the Columbia River.

A couple of weeks later they started building Fort Clatsop, named after the local tribe.  A re-creation of the fort is located near the Visitor Center.  I was here in 1969 and 2007 but had only one photo.

My only photo of Fort Clatsop from 2007 visit – tour guide

The Story of Sacagawea –

Statue of Sacagawea (Shoshone) and her son Jean Baptiste

Lewis & Clark River (rt) emptying into the Columbia River

The Lewis and Clark Expedition returned to the Saint Louis area on September 23, 1806 – making this a 2 year, 4 month, and 10 day adventure!

My next stop was the “Wreck of the Peter Iredale” in Fort Stevens SP, which is a unit of L & C NHP

According to Wikipedia, “The Peter Iredale was a four-masted steel bark built in Maryport, England, in 1890 . . . On September 26, 1906, the Iredale left Salina Cruz, Mexico, bound for Portland, where it was to pick up a cargo of wheat for the United Kingdom.”  While waiting for a pilot to enter the Columbia River, a heavy wind and strong current caused the ship to run aground.

I continued to Astoria OR – do you remember the movie “Goonies?”

I then crossed the Columbia River into WA and visited the “Dismal Nitch.”  The Lewis & Clark Expedition was stranded here by weather for over two weeks before crossing the Columbia River to what would become Fort Clatsop.

A bit West is Station Camp (Middle Village) in Fort Columbia SP (WA), an additional area related to L & C NHP.

The Search for the Northwest Passage – interesting history

This was the site of a Chinook Village.  Ninety percent of Chinooks would die within two generations of foreigners entering this area.  In the 1850s, the McGowan Family built a town, salmon cannery, and church here.

In 2007, Bill and I visited Cape Disappointment SP, which is in WA at the mouth of the Columbia River.  It is another unit of L & C NHP, Cape Disappointment Lighthouse – you can see Oregon across the mouth of the Columbia River.

North Head Lighthouse in Cape Disappointment SP

9/13 Tu – 10min drive to the McLoughlin House in Oregon City, which is part of Fort Vancouver NHS.  Dr. John McLoughlin was a trained physician who ran Hudson’s Bay Company’s Fort Vancouver from 1825 to 1845. He was responsible for overseeing a vast fur trading operation that stretched from Northern California to Alaska. He built this house in 1846 by Willamette Falls in Oregon City near the end of the Oregon Trail.  He owned a gristmill, granary, and general store.  He loaned money to emigrants to start businesses in the area and served as Mayor of Oregon City.  In 1844, it was the largest town west of the Missouri River.

Margaret and John McLoughlin

Model of McLoughlin House located in Oregon City Library

A 30min drive brought us to Fort Vancouver NHS on the north bank of the Columbia River in WA.  It was the Pacific Northwest’s home of the Hudson’s Bay Company (English) in the early 1800s.

Helen and Vera

English Garden

Chief Factor’s House – Dr. John McLoughlin family home at Fort Vancouver

Bakehouse (white)

Blacksmith Shop

Post Surgeon

Carpenter Shop (left) and Counting House

Fur Storage


In the early 20th century, a polo field at Fort Vancouver was a place for aviation enthusiasts to try out their aircraft.  During the 1905 Lewis and Clark Centennial Expedition in Portland OR, an airship named the “City of Portland” landed at Fort Vancouver.

When the U.S. entered World War I (1917), the field became the site for the largest wood processing facility in the world – the Spruce Mill – run by the government!  The U.S. military took over the logging industry to quickly produce light weight spruce wood for airplane construction.

After the war, the plant was demolished and the area became an airport.  It was named “Pearson Air Field” in honor of Alexander Pearson and was the home of the 321st Observation Squadron.

The airport was in the news in 1937 when the Russian Chkalov Transpolar Flight landed there.

I did not know that Pearson Field had become part of the Fort Vancouver NHS and Vancouver National Historic Reserve.  It was a pleasant surprise as I have always had an interest in airplanes. 

Statue honoring early Aviation Pioneers

The Pearson Air Museum was a delight –

Model of the government Spruce Mill

Vintage Aircraft

We said our goodbyes to Vera and drove to the Days Inn by the SEA-TAC airport for the night.

9/14 W – Our flight from Seattle to Columbus left at 10:40am.  We picked up our car from long term parking and were back home at 8pm.


Aleutian WWII and Inupiat Heritage Center – AK

September 12, 2022

9/4 Su – late breakfast at the West Bayden IN Resort with Peter and Heather and then a casual 3hr drive to the Cincinnati Airport.  My Alaska Air flight to Seattle left at 6pm, the next flight at 9pm. As we approached Anchorage, the “Northern Lights” were visible on the right side of the aircraft. I switched seats and saw a curved white-blue glow above the curve of the earth with lots of stars above. Looking North the glow looked similar, but I did not see any “dancing lights.”

I arrived in Anchorage at midnight.  It took a while to get the shuttle to the Baymont Inn.  The first room they gave me had no heat.  The key for the second room they gave did not work.  The second key they gave me did not work.  Then I was able to get in but this room did not have any heat either!  After that, they told me the entire building had no heat!  It was 1:30am (4:30am OH time) and I did not want to search for another hotel, so I negotiated a lower price WITH at space heater for the night.

Helen called at 9:30am OH time and woke me up (5:30am Anchorage time).  Now I know how Kate feels when people call her in LA in the early morning forgetting she is 3hrs behind OH time.

9/5 MLabor Day, slept in late and got ready for my 2pm flight on RAVN (Raven) Air to Dutch Harbor (Unalaska) in the Aleutian Islands, 1200 miles southwest of Anchorage.  A woman at check-in let me know that my phone would not work in Unalaska and that I would have to get (pay for) an app for service.  Everything was fine until our DASH 8-300 two engine turboprop taxied to the takeoff runway.  It was then discovered that a sensor was not working, and we had to return to the terminal.  I had to start thinking about alternative plans should I be unable to fly to Dutch Harbor today.  Flights are often fully booked as there are only two a day or canceled due to bad weather in the Aleutians.  It would require major changes in my itinerary and maybe another return trip to Alaska.  Fortunately, the problem was resolved, and we left an hour late.

I spoke with my seat mate and learned he was from Louisiana and was going to Dutch Harbor to work on a boat that would be fishing in the Bering Sea.  Further, he had recruited several south sea islanders, mainly “big” Samoans, who were also on the plane.  He would receive about 15K for two months, if the fishing was good. 

Upon arrival, took the shuttle to the Grand Aleutian Hotel and checked-in at 6pm.  Alaska has the entire state on the same time, that is, 1hr behind West Coast Time.  If that were not the case, Unalaska would be 2hrs behind West Coast Time.  The last Aleutian Island of Attu is only 208 miles from the Commander Islands of Russia.  The International Date Line does a jog so that it passes west of the Aleutian Islands, making the west coast of Attu the western most point of the U.S.

Boats from Dutch Harbor catch more metric tons of fish (Bering Sea) than anywhere else in the U.S.  Many of the episodes on the TV Show the “Deadliest Catch” are about fishing boats stationed in Dutch Harbor.

Since it would be light until 10pm, and I was blessed with partial sunshine (unusual here), I hired a Vietnamese taxi driver to give me a two-hour tour of Unalaska.  We had to first pick up a local from the grocery store and drive him home and then some men from a fishing trawler and take them to a bar.  Then, we were ready for our tour of Unalaska.  He was a hoot, telling me in a high squeaky voice his life history.  Our first stop was the Unalaska Memorial Park and cemetery.

Pillbox lower right, monuments, Iliuliuk Bay, and Mt Ballyhoo (1634ft) in background

World War II in the Aleutians Monument – to honor Aleut Civilians, U.S., Canadian, and Japanese Military Personnel.

Monument to the men and women who lived and served during the Aleutian Campaign of World War II.  The S.S. Northwestern was destroyed during Japanese Air Raids on Unalaska, June 3-4, 1942.

Holy Ascension of Our Lord Russian Orthodox Cathedral – it is the oldest Russian Church (1825 – rebuilt 1894) still standing in the U.S.

YouTube Tour of Unalaska/Dutch Harbor –

After returning to the hotel, I walked to the U.S. WW II Underground Hospital on Amaknak Island.  Back at the hotel, I ordered French Onion Soup, House Salad, Margaretta Quesadillas, and a beer at the bar and ate in my room.

9/6 Tu The Aleutian World War II National Historic Area, an Affiliated NP Unit, is administered by the Ounalashka Corporation.  The administrators and staff went out of their way to accommodate me during my visit.  I gave all the ladies T-shirts and John a hooded sweatshirt and mittens for his teenage girls. Laresa, Technical Lands Manager, opened the Aerology Operations Building (1941) Visitor Center at Tom Madsen Dutch Harbor Airport for me at 9am.  She helped me plan my day and left me in the care of Sasha (Anastasia) a student assistant, who provided information and served as my photographer.

The windows on the octagonal upper floor gave radio operators a 360-degree view. 

The Visitor Center has excellent displays covering the Japanese attack and occupation of Attu Island and Kiska Island at the end of the Aleutian chain (6-months after Pearl Harbor), the bombing of Unalaska, and the retaking of the islands from the Japanese by U.S. and Canadian forces (1942-43).  This was one of the deadliest battles in the Pacific Theater.  American casualties were 549 killed, 1148 wounded, 1200 severe cold injuries, 614-disease (including exposure).  The Japanese suffered 2351 killed and 28 captured before their withdrawal from the islands.  Here are some examples –

There are also displays describing the forced relocation of the Alaska Native residents from the Aleutian and Pribilof Islands and the hardships they faced during and after the war.  Americans have been learning of the forced relocation of U.S. Japanese citizens during World War II for some time.  However, few Americans know the story of the forced relocation of Native Alaskans.  Here are some examples –

I met Denise, President, as well as Lands, Property & Leasing Manager of the Ounalashka Corporation in her office at 12:30pm.  She was the point person for my visit.  She explained how the Corporation controlled and administered the land while a native tribal council governed the area.   She stated that there was good cooperation but in general the council was against change in the natural environment while the corporation wanted development to increase the standard of living. 

Denise arranged for John, their security guard, a local and former Russian Orthodox Priest (15 years), to drive me up Mt Ballyhoo to Fort Schwatka.  The fort and other military installations were built to defend the island during World War II.

Fort Schwatka – cloudy with occasional light rain

Munitions Magazine and Battery Command

Mounts for 155mm Guns

Base End Station for Defense and Observation, the highest defensive battery ever built in the U.S.

Memorials for two teenage girls who died when the car they were in tumbled 900 feet down to the shoreline in 2019.  That is why the gravel road to Fort Schwatka now has a locked gate.

After descending Mt Ballyhoo, John dropped me off at the Museum of the Aleutians in Unalaska.

Excellent displays on Aleutian History

“Woman of Ounalashka” Original pencil sketch by John Weber, artist on Captain James Cook’s 3rd Voyage of Discovery, 1778

Russia Sold, U.S. Bought Alaska for $7.2 million, 1867 – “Seward’s Ice Box”

Cutter Bear

YouTube Tour of Unalaska/Dutch Harbor –

Leaving Dutch Harbor on RAVN Air for Anchorage.  While waiting, I heard a familiar language.  There was a group of about eight Serbian workers who were going home after working for four months in the Uni-Sea fish processing plant.  They said the trip would take 1.5 days and, after a break, they would be returning since there was little work available in Serbia.  

Returned to the Baymont Inn in Anchorage – this time they had heat!

9/7 W – Took the once daily Alaska Air flight to Utqiagvik (Barrow), arrived at 3:30pm.  This was my second visit here – see Blog for September 2020.  Upon arrival, I went to the Ukpeagvik Inupiat Corporation (UIC) to check on the cost of a permit to go to Point Barrow, the northern most point in the U.S.  I picked up the Land Use Access Permit Application and found that a one-time permit would be $150.

 I then took a taxi ($6) to the Inupiat Heritage Center (Affiliated NP Unit) and arrived at 4:30. It is located in the same building as the Tuzzy Consortium Library of Ilisagvik College, the first and only federally recognized tribal college in Alaska.  The college web site states that “The basis for all Iḷisaġvik’s educational programs is the rich foundation of a subsistence culture in harmony with the land and seas that give it sustenance.”

The Center is affiliated with New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park in MA.  There were over 2,000 whaling trips from New Bedford to the western Arctic in the 1800s. The whales they were pursuing here were Bowheads.  The only baleen whales that spend their entire life near the Arctic Sea ice.  Because of their thick bowhead bony structure, Bowheads can break through ice several feet thick to breath.  They were prized for their blubber and baleen.  The blubber was used to produce whale oil for lamps.  New Bedford was known as “The City that Lit the World” – with whale oil.  The baleen filter-feeding system inside the mouths of these whales was used for collar stiffeners, buggy whips, parasol ribs, and corset stays because it was both flexible and strong.  I only had a half hour to get oriented before they closed but would return each of the next two days to thoroughly view the exhibits and native craft areas.

I dropped my bag and backpack off at my room and walked to the Whale Bone Arch near the historic whaling station on the Arctic Ocean (Chukchi Sea). 

For dinner I ordered the Reindeer Scrambler at the nearby Niggivikput Restaurant in the Top of the World Hotel.  As I sat there, a heavy bank of fog started to roll in off the ocean.  By the time I walked back to my room, it had enveloped Utqiagvik. 

9/8 Th – ate my leftover Reindeer Scrambler for breakfast and then walked to Captain C. Eugene Brower’s home for a 1.5hr conversation.  He grew up in a sod house, hunting with his father Harry on the ice.  The family later moved into town where he became a leader of the native community.  Parents graves in the Browerville Cemetery.

He was a Board Member and President of the native Barrow Whaling Captains Association (BWCA) for over 41 years.  According to his 2017 Certificate of Recognition and Honor, “He has had to deal with the toughest, rowdiest and most demanding whaling captains who he has been able to lead . . .”  He was Mayor of the North Slope Borough 1981-1984.  His grandfather was Charles D. Brower, author of the book Fifty Years Below Zero, and the self-proclaimed “King of the Arctic.”    

It was an extraordinary experience for me to learn about his life and the native community.  Brower Family whaling flag

I stopped at the Stuaqpak (community store) to buy some items for lunch.  While eating lunch, I received an email from Alaska Air stating that my 4:40pm flight today was canceled due to fog.  Further, they rescheduled me for a flight out in two days with a connection in Anchorage at 3am the following day that would not get me to Seattle until 7:30am on Sunday!  What to do?  Helen was scheduled to meet me at an airport hotel in Seattle that evening.  I was unable to use my phone in Barrow, except for emails and texts, when I had Wi-Fi at my room.  I emailed and texted Helen to let her know what had happened but she was already on her way to Seattle.

After lunch, I returned to the Inupiat Heritage Center for more photos and again to inquire about finding a driver to get to Point Barrow.  The Center emphasizes the history, culture, and subsistence lifestyle of the Inupiat. “We are Inupiat – We are Whalers.”  These are the values of the community:

Love and Respect for Elders and for One Another

Respect for Nature

Knowledge of Family, Kinship, and Roles


Knowledge of Language


Having a Sense of Humor

Knowledge of Hunting Traditions



Avoidance of Conflict


The following are examples of some of the displays:

I also went to the Stuaqpak and asked employees there if they knew anyone who could drive me to Point Barrow.  I received some phone numbers, but they were dead ends.

At 10pm I received a text from Helen stating she was at the Comfort Inn and was waiting for me.  She had not read my email or text!  I was able to borrow a phone to call her – she was not happy with the news.  We decided that she would ask Vera if it was OK to arrive two days early.  If so, she would pick up our rental car the next day and drive to Portland.  In the meantime, I would cancel our hotel reservations for the next two days in WA.    

I decided to try to get on the Alaska Air flight the next day even if I had to buy another ticket, because the airport could be closed again for one or more days – that happened frequently in Utiqiagvik.

I set my phone alarm for 1am and 3am to look for the Northern Lights – no luck, fogged in.

9/8 Th – Ate the Raisin Bran I had brought with me for breakfast and was back at the Heritage Center at 9:30am, again looking for a driver to take me to Point Barrow.  I was given two names and told I could try to contact them on Facebook.  As stated, my phone was not working but one of the contacts was Deano, Eugene Brower’s son-in-law.  So, I walked to Eugene’s house for the phone number.  I caught him getting in his truck.  Eugene called Deano and he agreed to meet me at Latitude 71 at 11:30 for the trip to Point Barrow.

I continued walking, again through the Browerville Cemetery and then around the Isatkoak Lagoon. Note the big vinyl bags (filled with gravel) and the berm built to try and stop wave erosion on the coast.

The highpoint of Utqiagvik is 30 feet at Cape Smyth, where the Presbyterian Church and the main parts of town are located. 

My next stop was the Administration Building for the North Slope Borough. 

I continued to the airport and the Alaska Air building.  There was one person there.  I asked if I could change my Seattle flight to today.  She said I could if I paid extra for preferred seating.  She also booked me on a better flight out of Anchorage to Seattle the next day.  I now had to reserve a place to stay in Anchorage for this evening as well as in Seattle.

I walked back to put on all my warm clothes for Point Barrow.  Deano was there early, cleaning the windows of his four door 4WD Ford pickup.  We drove out Stevenson Street along the Chukchi Sea, past llisagvik College.  The College is located at the Naval Arctic Research Laboratory (NARL) area, with the Barrow HS Football Field, and the U.S. Air Force Long Range Radar Site nearby.

This site was part of the Distant Early Warning (DEW) Line built in the 1950s and active during the “Cold War.”  In 1990, the Point Barrow DEW site became part of the North Warning System (NWS), which is administered by NORAD. 

We stopped at the end of the gravel road to deflate the tires to get better traction as we started on the track leading out to Point Barrow. It was below freezing in the morning, but the sun came out taking the temperature up to the mid-40s making it a very good day for this excursion.  Still, the wind chill made it feel like the mid-30s.   

There is a tall tower (pole) at Point Barrow near the northernmost point of the U.S.

As we walked along the beach, Deano used the GPS on his phone to find the precise location of the northernmost point.  Deano said he brings his family out here at least once a year to walk the beach.  They have found old boat parts such as copper nails and parts of a brass stove.  Deano with whale vertebrae.

I walked out as far as I could, without getting my shoes submerged, to stand at the northernmost point.

We then drove a bit further to where the whalers leave whale bones to attract polar bears and thereby keep them away from whaling operations. 

As we returned, Deano tried to maintain momentum as we slid, swerved, and bounced, sometimes hitting bottom, along the rutted track.  We had to stop several times because the truck radiator was boiling over under the stress of pushing through the sand.  I was concerned that the truck might break down or get stuck, causing me to miss my flight later in the day. 

Cooling the engine near a solar powered weather station

Satellite view of the ice breakup along the Chukchi Sea in 2009.  Point Barrow is at the upper right of the image.  Point Barrow is where the Chukchi Sea meets the Beaufort Sea.  Both are seas of the Arctic Ocean.

Deano dropped me off at my room in Browerville.  After a mix-up with rides/taxis, I finally got to the airport at 4:20. They pulled me out of line at security because of the hiking stick in my backpack and crampons in my suitcase.  It took me awhile to convince them that the items should be permitted on the plane.  It was a good thing that the 737 was already at the airport because the fog was again rolling in off the Arctic Ocean.  The plane took off in the fog and arrived in Anchorage at 7pm.  I got the McDonald’s Special of two quarter pounders for $7 and ate them while I walked to the shuttle area.  Took the shuttle to the rundown two-star Ramada Inn downtown – the price was right ($129).   But you get what you pay for – the first room they gave me did not have heat.  The card key did not work for the second room, but I took it anyway after an employee let me in.

I connected to Wi-Fi, caught up on my emails and text messages, and then spoke to Helen.  We agreed she would pick me up Sunday morning at 10am at the Four Points by Sheridan near the Sea-Tac airport.

9/10 Sat – stayed in bed until Helen called at 8am.  I then walked to the Salmon Viewing area on Ship Creek where they were having “The Great Alaska Duck Race,” a fund raiser for many Alaskan Non-Profits.  Hilton Hotel is right center.

Continued my walk past the Alaskan RR Station and up to the Eisenhauer 50th State Memorial. 

Anchorage history

I continued through downtown to the Coastal Trail along the Knik Arm of the Cook Inlet looking for a view of Denali.  On the way back, I stopped at the 22-story Hilton Hotel and asked if I could go up to the top floor where there is an event room and an outdoor viewing area.  I was told it was closed but they would call security to take me up.  I could just barely make out the base of Denali, top covered in clouds but could not get a good photo.  Here is a photo of downtown, note the picture above the window of Anchorage before the earthquake.

Took the Ramada shuttle to the airport, had another salmon sandwich and beer as a parting Alaska treat before boarding my flight to Seattle.  Alaska State Seal at airport – 

Arrived at SEA-TAC Airport at 10pm and took the shuttle to the Four Points Sheraton.


Kennedy-King National Commemorative Site – IN

August 31, 2022

9/3 F – drove to Indianapolis to spend the weekend with Peter and Heather as their guests (Christmas present), We walked the dogs, had pizza, and played cards.

9/4 Sa – stopped at the Kennedy-King National Commemorative Site in Indianapolis.  Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968, in Memphis TN.  Robert Kennedy, who was in Indy and running for President, gave an impromptu speech speaking to a mostly African American crowd.  Authorities advised Kennedy not to speak fearing a riot.  Riots were breaking out all over the U.S.

Kennedy announced the assassination and spoke of how MLK devoted his life to love, peace, and justice.  He stated that his brother, President John F. Kennedy, was also killed (1963) by a white man and that Americans must work at understanding why these things happen and rise above these tragedies. 

His improvised speech is credited with preventing a riot in the city.  The Black community felt genuine empathy in his words.  They heard a powerful speech emphasizing the need for healing in this country.

Next on our agenda was a one-hour boat tour through Bluespring Caverns in southern IN.

It is the longest known subterranean river cave in the U.S.  It is a karst (limestone) cave with about 21-miles of surveyed passages.

Continued to the West Baden Springs Resort Hotel outside of French Lick IN.

Built in 1902, with a 200-foot free-span atrium dome (largest in the world at the time) and extensive grounds, it was known as the “Eighth Wonder of the World.”

Had dinner and breakfast the next morning in the impressive atrium

Helen turned $1 into $41.84 at the slot machines in the French Lick Casino!

Dinner in the Atrium

Ceiling Reflection off Glass Table

Evening of Pool, OSU Game (beat Notre Dame), and Euchre

9/4 Su – late breakfast at the resort with Peter and Heather and then a casual 3hr drive to the Cincinnati Airport.  My Alaska Air flight to Seattle left at 6pm, the next flight at 9pm, and I arrived in Anchorage at midnight. 


Maine and New England National Park Units

July 30, 2022

I had already planned a trip through ME for August.  However, in early July, Stacy invited us to join her family in a vacation house at Higgins Beach ME for a few days.  This was an opportunity to spend some relaxing time with Stacy, Brad, Leva, Geert and Hattie, so we jumped at the chance and changed our reservations, schedule, etc.  We were told to take Queen sheets, blankets, pillows, towels/wash cloth, beach towels, beach toys, etc. for our accommodation in a small house attached to the house Stacy’s family was in.  We also took our passports, vaccination cards, and Covid Tests because we would be crossing the border into Canada three times after our visit.  We had to complete the ArriveCan App and enter our passports and Covid vaccination records.  In addition, for each crossing, I had to enter the information on our port of entry and time of entry within 72hrs of crossing the border.  $1 US = $1.30 Canadian

7/15 F – 7hrs to Kate’s (Nancy’s daughter) home in Victor NY where we spent the night

7/16 Sa – made a stop at Harriet Tubman NHP in Auburn NY (see Blog for October 2017) to get photos of her home, which I missed on our last visit.

There was also a “traveling statue” there titled The Journey to Freedom – Harriet was a “Conductor” on the Underground Railroad

Met Stacy and family at their rental house in Higgins Beach ME at 6pm

7/17 Su – we were up for sunrise at 5:15am!

7/18 M – Hattie took me for a walk to the river to see the “quicksand.”  The beach is a half mile long spit bound by bed rock on the southwestern end and the Spurwink River on the northeastern end.  On the way we passed the remains of the three masted schooner “Middleton,” which ran aground on a fog filled night in 1897.  It was loaded with coal.  Much of the coal was recovered, but many locals found enough afterwards to heat their homes for a couple of years.

For lunch we did the annual pilgrimage to the Lobster Shack near Twin Lights SP for lobster rolls

That was followed by a walk to the scenic South Portland Head Lighthouse in Fort Williams Park on Cape Elizabeth.  The Portland Head Light was first lit in 1791.

7/19 Tu – spent the day playing and relaxing at the beach

7/20 WKate’s Birthday! – said goodbye and did the 3-hour drive to Acadia NP.  Helen and I were here in 1970 when we were on a road trip to the Eastern Canadian Provinces with our mothers in our VW camper.  Helen taking in the view from atop Cadillac Mountain (1530ft) on Mount Desert Island, where the first rays of sunshine strike the continental USA.  You can see Bar Harbor below, as well as islands in Frenchman Bay.

Kate and I visited in 1996 after we climbed Mount Katahdin by way of the Knife’s Edge.  Here she is at Thunder Hole.

Kate and I had a cloudy/rainy day and could not see a thing from the top of Cadillac Mountain

Some of Acadia NP land –

However, she was able to experience a form of high tea at the Jordan Pond House.

We did a long drive around Mount Desert Island, picture at low tide –

 We camped at the Seawall Campground in our 1983 GMC van.  Here I am making a healthy Lipton dinner at the beach.

 It was clear the next morning when I took this photo of the Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse

2012 America The Beautiful Quarters Coin Acadia Maine Uncirculated Reverse

HAD TO bring back some lobster trap buoys for Helen!

This year we had to have an advanced reservation to drive the auto road to the top of Cadillac Mountain.  It cost $6 online and I had a 3:30 to 4pm window to check in at the entrance gate.  The reservations are in demand, especially for the earliest times, so as to catch sunrise on the top of the mountain (sold out months in advance). View from the West Parking Lot

View from the East Parking Lot

Same spot as the first photo of Helen above – top of Cadillac Mtn with Bar Harbor in center 2022

Sand Beach – A “Pocket Beach”

Beautiful day for a walk along the coast

We next drove around Frenchman Bay to the Schoodic Penninsula, which is a unit of Acadia NP

Schoodic Point provides a wonderful view across the Bay back toward Cadillac Mountain

This granite point provides excellent ocean views –

Lobsterman and son, checking the traps

Stayed the night in Lubec ME

7/21 Th – crossed the border into Canada on the FDR International Bridge completed in 1962.  Before that, island access was by boat from Eastport ME.  We drove to the northeastern tip of Campobello Island to see the Head Harbour Lightstation (also known as the East Quoddy Light).  The island is in New Brunswick and the wooden lighthouse (1829) has a distinctive St. George red cross daymark.  Unfortunately, it was hightide and we were unable to hike to the lightstation.

Campobello Island is on Atlantic Daylight Time (ADT), one hour ahead of EDT.  So, I planned our arrival at the Roosevelt Campobello International Park Visitor Center (an Affiliated NP Unit) for 10am (9am EDT) when it opened.  This was our brochure in 1970 when we visited with our mothers and then me in 2022.

The Visitor Center (VC) tells the Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s family story.  His father James bought the island with other investors and built a “cottage” here in 1883.  FDR (1882-1945) spent his summers at that cottage until 1908.  In 1909, their next-door neighbor Mrs. Hartman Kuhn died.  In her will she offered her 34-room cottage to FDR’s mother Sara for the bargain price of $5,000 including all furnishings.  Sara presented the cottage to her son Franklin as a belated wedding gift in 1909.  FDR had married his fifth-cousin Eleanor Roosevelt in 1905.  Her father had passed, so her uncle President Theodore Roosevelt gave the bride away.  They enjoyed the first cottage and then the second each summer.  All five of their healthy children experienced life at Campobello. A sixth child, the first Franklin Jr, died in infancy.  Franklin contracted polio in 1921 (at age 39) and fell ill at the cottage.  He was elected President four times starting in 1932.  He died in 1945 shortly after starting his fourth term.


There is a birch bark canoe above the counter of the VC which was made for FDR by Tomah Joseph a Passamaquoddy elder and life-long friend of the President.  Franklin had good relationships with the local Native Americans.

The museum had many interesting photos –

My Campobello cottage photo from 1970

Photo in entrance room of cottage

Cottage tours are free and take about a half hour.  Select room photos follow – Playroom  

Tour Guide in Study

Living Room

Dining Room

Butlers Pantry



Schoolroom – children were home schooled in Hyde Park and here at their summer home as well

Master Bedroom


Boys Room

Guest Room

View from Covered Porch – Eastport ME in distance

Bay side of Cottage

Map – we toured the grounds and then drove to the Mulholland Point Light

Lubec ME from Campobello Island New Brunswick Canada 2022

Mulholland Point Light – 1970

We re-entered the USA and in 10 minutes were at the West Quoddy Head Light, which is the eastern most point of the 50 states

This is a photo of the West Quoddy Head Light that I took in 1970 with Campobello Island in the background

1.5hrs to Rt 1 N and Saint Croix Island International Historic Site.  See Blog to read about our first visit to this IHS – October 2017.  This time it was low tide, and we could walk down to the shore of the St. Croix River to view the island, which is in the middle of the river with New Brunswick Canada on the opposite side.

The island was the beginning of a permanent European presence in Northern North America.  The winter of 1604-1605 on Saint Croix Island was a cruel one for Pierre Dugua’s French expedition. Iced in by freezing temperatures and cut off from fresh water and game, 35 of 79 men died.  As spring arrived and native people traded game for bread, the health of those remaining improved. Although the expedition moved on by summer, the beginning of a French presence in North America had begun.

Helen with one of the locals

On this visit, we were able to enter the visitor center and learn more about the site and history.  The Passamaquoddy Native Americans, who lived here, had a prophesy of how a great white bird (sailing ship?) would destroy everything on land and water.  However, the historical information here states that the French and Passamaquoddy had a friendly and supportive relationship.

We then drove north on US Rt 1 stopping at a house sale in Calais ME (Helen bought an anchor plus misc. items) and then a sale along the road somewhere north of Presque Isle ME.   She is still talking about the old handmade potato basket she should have bought there.  In the 17th and 18th centuries Irish and Scotch-Irish immigrated into the area and introduced potato farming. 

On the way to Van Buren ME, we made a quick stop in Cyr Plantation ME to see the Governor Brann School.  It is one of twelve locations that are part of the Maine Acadian Culture Project, an Affiliated National Park Unit.  The Project ties together a collection of twelve sites on the U.S. side of the Saint John River Valley border with Canada.  The focus is on the unique ethnicity and culture of the region.  In the 1600s French Acadians settled Nova Scotia.  British took over in 1755 and proceeded with a forced relocation of the French. Some of these Acadians were relocated to New Orleans (“Cajuns”) and some to Fredericton New Brunswick. 

The Governor Brann School tells the story of how a Maine 1919 law required the language of instruction in public and private schools to be English.  The school was named for Louis Brann, who was Governor of ME at the time of its construction in 1934. It is the best-preserved of the community’s former district school buildings; it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1993. The 1959’s Handbook for Teachers, stated that “Any teacher violates (our) trust, both legally and morally, who allows herself or any pupil to revert to French in the classroom . . . at recess, around the playground . . . or even away from school.” It is now used by the plantation as a polling station and meeting place.

We were able to get to our next site, the Acadian Village ($7 open noon to 5) east of Van Buren ME before dark but after they closed.  There are seventeen “Acadian” structures that have been reconstructed or brought here from around the St John River Valley.  In 1785, Acadians who had settled in St. Anne Des Pays Bas, Fredericton (New Brunswick), after the English forced them out of Nova Scotia ~1755, were again forced to move by English Loyalists.  Twelve thousand British Loyalists immigrated north to the Fredericton area after the American Revolutionary War.  The Acadians, displaced again, made their way up the St. John River to what is now the northern border of Maine. 

The settlement reflects and incorporates those traits inherent to the Acadians. These skills include fishing, lumbering, and ship building. A number of these dwellings are significant in terms of their distinct Maine Acadian construction such as nautical features of “ship knees,” used for supports in construction, which can be seen in the Morneault house and the Acadian barn.

These “Acadians” still speak French and comprise the largest French-speaking population in North America, except for the Canadian Province of Quebec. The site is owned and operated by Notre Héritage Vivant/Our Living Heritage. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977. 

Roy House

Center of Acadian Village

Morneault House – The settlement reflects and incorporates those traits inherent to the Acadians. These skills include fishing, lumbering, and ship building.  A number of these dwellings are significant in terms of their distinct Maine Acadian construction such as nautical features of “ship knees,” used for supports in construction, which can be seen in the Morneault house and the Acadian barn.

Ouellette House

Notre Dame De L’ Assumption Catholic Church

St. Amand-Ayote School House (1900)

Doctor-Optician House

Boardwalk and Businesses

Bangor & Aroostock RR Station

Ate in Van Buren and then crossed the St John River into Canada and stayed at the Daigle’s Motel in Saint Leonard.

7/22 F – crossed back into the US of A – St John River boundary looking East.  Canada on left US on right

Acadian Flag, which you will see many times in today’s photos – the French Flag with a gold star in the upper left corner.

Starting in Van Buren ME, this map shows our morning stops on US Rt 1 through Grand Isle ME

Our first stop was the Abel J. Morneault Public Library in Van Buren, which is a unit in the Maine Acadian Culture Project.  Local libraries are important because they hold records related to the Acadian experience.  Yesterday, we saw the Morneault House and barn at the Acadian Village outside of town. 

A half-hour ride took us to Lille ME and the Musée Culturel du Mont-Carmel.  It is located in the former Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church and tells the story of the importance of religion in the Valley.  It is one of the only surviving 19th-century Acadian churches in northern Maine.  This architecturally distinctive building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973. As you can see, it is highlighted on this NPS brochure.

Greater Grand Isle Historical Museum with bread oven out front

Roadside Shrine with marker explaining the Americanizing of French-Catholic Acadians

This map shows the location of each of our remaining stops through the Saint John River Valley

Acadian Landing Site –the Acadians landed at this site on the St John River in 1785.  It is marked by a large marble cross. It is also known as the Acadian Cross Historic Shrine.  It was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.

As mentioned, Acadians were living around Fredericton New Brunswick in 1784 at the end of the American Revolution.  At that time, the British encouraged their Loyalists in the U.S. to move to that area, and 12,000 arrived interfering with the Acadian way of life.  That was the main motivation for the Acadians to move up the St John River to this location.  The land here was good for farming and they were a lot closer to the Catholic center in Quebec.

The Tante Blanche Museum is nearby, note St. David Catholic Church in background. Some masses are still held in French. This museum tells the story of Tante Blanche, a heroine during the Colonists black famine.


In 1797, after two years of flooding, an eight-day winter storm descended on the area.  Tante Blanch gathered food and clothes from her relatives and friends and then snow-shoed to assist her sick, hungry, and cold neighbors.

We continued west along the St. John River for ten minutes to Madawaska, which was a French Acadian center.  The Madawaska Library

Le Club Francais in Madawaska

From Madawaska, it was a 20 min drive south to the Pelletier-Marquis House. It is now the St. Agatha Historical Society Museum.  It represents an older working-class home and is thought of as “everyman’s home.” Humble in appearance, its original site, rock foundation, low ceilings, buckwheat hull insulation, wide floorboards, and square-headed nails make this a unique historical structure.  It dates from 1853 and has two surnames because at one time two families lived there.

A donated Acadian Cabin was relocated here from Staratha ME

There are Colored Wood Carvings at several of the Acadian sites

Our next stop was the Frenchville Railroad Station and Water Tank, built in 1910 by the Bangor & Aroostook Railroad (B&A). This site was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1995. The station was retired in 1971.  Tracks here ran along the St John River.