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There's no such thing as a coincidence.

On January 10 at the Delta Terminal at LAX, Sara dropped her ticket to Maui as she was trying to get herself put back together after the TSA checkpoint.  Who noticed and picked up her ticket?  Tina Ius, the Skywest Flight Attendant we met in Madrid, Spain on January 12, 2007!  Nearly one year to the day.  It is truly a small world.

Iao Vally Needle is a very important location to many Hawaiians.  Many events have happened here; not all of them pleasant. 

We returned to Iao Valley Needle during our visit.

We visited Haleakala National Park during our visit.  Here we are atop Haleakala, a dormant volcano, at 10,023 feet.  Haleakala's last eruption that made it to the sea was in 1790.

Yes, Sara became a Junior Ranger during her visit!  That makes more than 60 park sites where she is a Junior Ranger.  Sara has visited more than 150 of the 391 NPS units.

Believe it or not, during our visit to Haleakala, we were lucky and saw two nenes!  The nene is a small goose, a relative of the Canada Goose.

In January 2008 we visited our friends Steve and Ellen Bowen at their home in Kihei, Maui, Hawaii. 

Steve's son Matt was visiting from Boston.  To celebrate Steve's 63rd birthday, we went on a Pacific Whale Foundation whale watch cruise from Lahaina Harbor.

Thanks to Matt Bowen for this great photo of a breaching humpback whale. 

We saw this wonderful sight on our cruise.  My photo was of the splash after the breach!


On January 21, Sara and Wade Blaufuss went to the David Letterman show.  Guests that night included former presidential candidate John Edwards and screenwriter Diablo Cody. 

We were fortunate to be seated in the front row!

We spent a day in New York City visiting a number of NPS units.  First on our list was Castle Clinton.  CACL receives thousands of visitors each year, but most do not realize it is a separate unit.  The reason why they're visiting the site is it's currently where visitors buy their tickets for the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. 

It is worth a visit to Battery Park to see this fascinating part of New York history.

Here on Wall Street, George Washington took the oath of office as our first President, and this site was home to the first Congress, Supreme Court, and Executive Branch offices. The current structure, a Customs House, later served as part of the US Sub-Treasury. Now, the building serves as a museum and memorial to our first President and the beginnings of the United States of America.

From the 1690s until the 1790s, both free and enslaved Africans were buried in a 6.6 acre burial ground in Lower Manhattan, outside the boundaries of the settlement of New Amsterdam, later known as New York.

Lost to history due to landfill and development, the grounds were rediscovered in 1991 as a consequence of the planned construction of a Federal office building.  Today it is the site of African Burial Ground National Monument.

Our friends Dana and Wilke from Kailua (O'ahu) went on vacation in April.  Their two "tuxedo" cats needed someone to feed them...and let them in and out..all night!  Dan is in 747 training so he couldn't visit, but Sara's mom Betty came for a week.  Sara's second trip to Hawai'i this year!

Here's a photo of the Byodo-in Temple in Kaneohe.  It's amazingly peaceful  Be sure and ring the bell if you go!

Sara and Betty like to hike.  We climbed to the summit of Mr. Fuji (Japan) in 1999 to see the sunrise.


While she was visiting we took a hike up Makapu'u Head!  Here we are at the summit and behind us you can see Makapu'u Beach and in the distance are the beautiful beaches of Waimanalo.  Be sure and go to Keneke's Plate Lunch in Waimanalo.  You won't be sorry!

We also climbed to the top of Diamond Head in Waikiki.  We thought this hike was easier than Makapu'u Head, but the signs all said it was harder.  What do they know?

We had a great time on the hike including all the steps and tunnels.  Sara was able to practice a little Japanese on all the visitors who were racing for the summit.

Climbers of Diamond Head are rewarded with breathtaking views of Waikiki and Honolulu.

You can easily pick out the Royal Hawaiian Hotel (the pink palace) and the Waikiki Shell in Kapiolani Park.  From the summit one can see the airport, Tripler Army Medical Hospital and Punchbowl-Cemetery of the Pacific.

After our hike up Diamond Head we met our friend Hiroshi Ando for lunch on Kapahulu Street in Waikiki.  We dined at Pyramids and had delicious Mediterranean cuisine. 

Kapahulu St. is known for its many different restaurants.  A favorite just down the street is Ono Hawaiian Foods (lau-lau, lomi salmon, poke, Kalua Pig, haupia, just to name a few).  You can also find good Mexican and Thai food, as well as a Genki Sushi on Kapahulu.  Closer to the H-1 is Leonard's...best malasadas anywhere!

The afternoon before Betty's flight we treated ourselves to Afternoon Tea on the veranda of the historic Moana Surfrider Hotel.  The hotel was built in 1901 and has served a "semi-formal" afternoon tea since the 1930s!

We enjoyed Moana Royal and Veranda Breeze teas, as well as an assortment of finger sandwiches and delectable pastries.

The banyan tree in the background was planted over 100 years ago.  The radio program "Hawaii Calls" used to be taped under the banyan tree.  It was wonderful to enjoy an afternoon in a place so "steeped" in history.

Sara and Natalie went to the opening day of the Minnesota State Fair.  The highlights were seeing a newborn lamb that was only an hour and a half young, getting hugs from Smokey Bear, and "all you can drink milk" for $1.

Stay tuned for updates!