Thursday, 18 May 2017

Volvanoes and Gardens




Kilauea

The big attraction on The Big Island of Hawaii is the Volcanoes, watching the crater as the sun goes down over Kilauea is rather special, the only thing you are not prepared for is the darkness, complete darkness so when you do eventually draw yourself away and walk back to the car park a torch would be a good idea, there are no lights at all so with a lot of people blundering around finding your car is quite interesting. https://www.nps.gov/havo/index.htm





Hawaii Tropical Botanical Gardens

The Hawaii Tropical Botanical Gardens http://www.htbg.com/ a short way north of Hilo are the nearest I have been to The Garden of Eden, maybe I was lucky to visit early on a Sunday morning when it was very quiet. As you walk down into the gardens the sound of birds and insects is everywhere, each corner you turn there is something special to see, as you get deeper into the gardens you start to become aware of the sound of the Ocean, getting louder and replacing the bird song, until suddenly you are on the cliff side, the water rushing into inlets either side of the garden and the Pacific stretching away into the distance, if ever there was a place to visit for tranquility this is it, highly recommended.

Back on Maui we drove up to the summit of Haleakala https://www.nps.gov/hale/index.htm a dormant volcano over 3000m in height, but still over a 1000m short of Mauna Kea on The Big Island.

Haleakala

The views are spectacular, you can clearly see Mauna Kea which was covered in fresh snow when we were there, the clouds move quite quickly, so one minute you can see nothing and then suddenly amazing views like above appear, the park is open 24 hours a day, so it is very popular to go and see the sunrise, that is something I must do! 



Wednesday, 19 April 2017

The Big Island

While in Hawaii I took a local flight from Maui to the Island of Hawaii or The Big Island as the locals know it.
Flying out of Kapalua, a tiny airstrip in the north of Maui and landing at Kona on the  west of The Big Island, I then rented a car and had a road trip to Hilo on the east side, a distance of around 76 miles via the direct route, I choose to follow Highway 19 around the north coast.
One of the big draws for going to the big Island was of course the......actually sorry to admit it wasn't the Volcanoes amazing as they are. The Hawaii Consolidated Railway was based around Hilo and among other routes it built a line up the coast from Hilo to Paauilo around 33 miles and 2 hours by train. The line was constructed just before the First World War, and at the time set a record for the most expensive piece of railway constructed, due to the terrain the line passed through, necessitating many trestle bridges of substantial size and several tunnels amongst other things. When the tragic Tsunami hit Hilo in 1946 almost all of the line was washed away and much of the route was then used to construct Highway 19.



Laupahoehoe Train Museum

Laupahoehoe Train Museum is a little way north of Hilo and based around the old Station Agents House. Was well worth the visit a lovely museum with loads of information on the route and a very knowledgeable guy running it. The top photo shows the museum building on the right and in the foreground the remains of the platform which is now right alongside Highway 19. 

Hilo Semi Roundhouse

The Semi Roundhouse in the photo was the main Locomotive shed for the Hawaii Consolidated Railway, and somehow it has survived, it is in private business use and is built from concrete, as with most concrete buildings of the period it is in a poor way so how much longer it will stay standing I don't know. People are aware of its historical importance and have come up with ideas to re use it, the owner seemed an approachable guy even if he was not impressed when I went inside, as he pointed out there is a lot of concrete that falls from the roof! So who knows what will happen, but I can add it to my list of Loco Sheds I have photographed. Yes I know I am a little strange, as my friends constantly remind me.


Lava from Kilauea


Yes I did visit the Volcanoes and pretty amazing they were too, more about then next time.




Thursday, 13 April 2017

Hawaii

Kaopala Gulch

Well I survived 4 weeks on a Tropical Island. Temperature was around 26-28 most of the time with an odd day of tropical storm thrown in, not ideal for cycling especially as I am not very fit at the moment, but I managed around a 100 miles in total on my sisters ancient bike. She seems to have a habit of keeping things forever, she has a hockey stick from when she was at school and still reminds me that I pinched her Squash racket! 
When we were young my sister and I were very close, but over the years we have drifted apart, mainly because of her living in America for over 30 years, but also we are very different people. We did get on very well though, 4 weeks with someone is a long time., but we didn't fall out, we both have a big interest in photography and love dogs, which really helped.





Nakalele Point and Blowhole

We did go to some amazing places, one way my sister Pauline and myself have loads in common, is she will explore where she lives, walking long distances finding forgotten paths and hidden beaches and fantastic coastline. The above shots were taken on a walk, or should I say scramble over the rocks to the Nakalele Blowhole. There is a relatively easy tourist route from the road, but we went over the cliffs by an anything but easy trail, and boy was it worth it! The site and sound of the Pacific pounding the cliffs was quite incredible, I had to keep reminding  myself that we were over 2000 miles from the mainland, the Island of Hawaii are recognized as the most remote on the planet when it comes to distance alone.
Maui is really a very beautiful Island and has everything you would expect of a Tropical Island if you look hard enough, unfortunately a lot of it is like an American playground, vast hotel complexes and Golf courses and cars, lots of cars, mind you if you took away all the rental Mustang Convertibles the car population would be halved!




Sunsets and Whales are two of the biggest things you will see in Hawaii and we saw loads.


This is the view from Pauline's apartment, during the day even without Binoculars you could watch the Whales breaching. Pauline has two dogs so walking them in the evening as the sun set was a great way to end the day, you could see why the Islands are such a big draw for American vacationing,it is so peaceful and despite the Mustang Convertibles an incredibly friendly and relaxing place to visit, one advantage of the playground aspect in the north of Maui is the complete lack of litter, and the way the area is looked after, it does of course mean that the problems are pushed out of sight, Maui is no different from anywhere else, there are homeless people, true Hawaiians resentful of the American invasion, very little work and as always a big traffic problem.










Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Take a Break

Treatment day today and hooray I have been able to give it a miss, not totally brilliant as its because I feel really rough and my blood pressure is very high but the break will do me good, and the next dose in 3 weeks time I had already arranged to miss as I am going away. There is a guy at hospital that I talk to, he is in the same position as me and 12 years younger but he is still suffering, he said he overnight felt like he was an old man, aches and pains, fatigue and general lack of interest or energy for anything, it cheered me up a bit to realise it is not just me and also someone a lot younger.
A week ago I went to stay with some friends on the North York Moors, gorgeous part of the country. My mate had just bought himself a new Mini, so we spent the weekend in it exploring nearby sites, now I really don't do cars anymore, I wasted far to much time and money on cars when I was younger. First thing I did when I got home was take a trip to Warrington Mini and buy one that I had seen on line, and very nice it is too.


I don't do loads of miles these days and I don't particularly enjoy driving, but the Mini is a very well put together car, very responsive and tight to drive, so I am sure it will get me interested in driving again, despite the fact that I actually detest cars, or is it that I detest what cars have done to people and the countryside!
Despite buying the Mini, the first thing I did the next day was take a train down to Birmingham, doesn't matter how nice a car is, sitting with thousands of others on the M6 and then taking for  ever to drive into Birmingham, just to leave the car all day while you go off walking is not my idea of a good time.

Nr Dudley Port
 
 
Yup a walk along an old railway line was the purpose of my trip, this particular line ran from Bescot to Dudley via Wednesbury and Dudley Port, it was closed in the 1990s and technically mothballed, which in this country means abandoned to nature. Part of the route has had some of the undergrowth cut back to allow it to be assessed as a possible extension to the nearby Wolverhampton-Birmingham Tram route, hopefully this will come about, although it will take some years to complete.
 
As I mentioned at the top of this page I am going away, actually I am going to Hawaii in 4 days time for a month. When I am back in march there will be plenty to write about, so to quote the classic TV series 'The Prisoner'
'Be Seeing You'

Saturday, 7 January 2017

Onwards

2017
I used to say to my friend Alan, stop counting back the years to see how long ago certain events were, used to really depress me as there is nothing you can do to change anything, but it is obviously a symptom of getting older as I have to stop myself now.
People often say how brave and strong I am, I really don't feel either, I feel tired, so very tired, how ever hard I try it makes no difference, positive thinking, exercising, eating healthily, 8 hours sleep, none of it makes any difference, I have had enough of constantly hurting and struggling. The other week at Clatterbridge I was chatting to a guy 12 years younger than me on the same treatment, and he said he suddenly feels like an old man, he has a girlfriend 10 years younger, so it makes life very difficult, I don't have a younger girlfriend but life is difficult.
I am off to Hawaii in 4 weeks to stay with my sister, I am trying to word a message to get across to her exactly how I feel both mentally and physically, she can be quite opinionated and has a very annoying habit of assuming everyone thinks the same as she does I don't want her advice and herbal remedies and the Lord will save you ideas, I just want her friendship and companionship, the last thing I want is for us to fall out. Maybe it is me, I find I enjoy my own company more and more, everyone seems so stressed and angry it is easier to get on with yourself, maybe it is an opting out of society, I am lucky I am only responsible to myself, it has been a conscious decision and that is the way I wish it to remain.


Rent
 
 
Just before Christmas I got to see Rent in London at long last. Truly fabulous show, the St James is quite an intimate theatre, and the show suited it perfectly. Quite a few years ago I was dumped and almost the first thing my ex did was jet off to see Rent on Broadway, I was not amused! The show is loosely based around the opera La bohème, a mixture of joy and sadness not least that its writer Jonathan Larson didn't live to see it open on Broadway.
 
 
Clatterbridge
 
 
 
Christmas in hospital!
I did nearly spend another Christmas in hospital, I had my treatment on the 23rd and there was a complication and it looked like I was going to be kept in, but fortunately by the end of the day my blood had sorted itself out. The guys and girls at Clatterbridge were fabulous, general hospitals these days are not allowed to get into the spirit due to infection risks etc, but at Clatterbridge it was superb each department had their own theme, and Dorothy even had a little dog to walk around with, made  such a difference to what was a pretty awful day.
 


 
Boxing Day on the Mid-Hants railway with thanks to Emily. A gorgeous fresh day, perfect for having a ride behind a steam engine, and for once some photos of me!