John & Anne Wiley

2017/09/07

Happy Home

Even after our incredible “O.U.” adventure to Hawaii, New Zealand and Australia with lots of flying fun, we were still glad to be home. In fact, we started flying here again the very next day.

3745 Happy Home

3745 Happy Home

There had been some rain while we were gone, and things were delightfully green. Up in the hills the town’s most popular waterfalls were flowing.

4049 Popular Pools

4049 Popular Pools

A week later the greening had continued, framing our familiar airport KSBA.

1212 Greener

1212 Greener

The next time we flew, the foothills were a rolling riot of green.

1449 Green Blanket

1449 Green Blanket

Subsequent flights added clearer air for even more spectacular views of our favorite places.

4520 Clear Coast

4520 Clear Coast

Looking up State Street toward the mountains was breathtaking.

4526 Up State

4526 Up State

The placid waters off Goleta Beach were soothing.

4754 Goleta Beach

4754 Goleta Beach

At the end of January, we spotted a less-known creek pool quietly inviting visitors.

4836 Quiet Pool

4836 Quiet Pool

In mid-February there was a big gathering at western Isla Vista.

5049 I.V. Surf Gathering

5049 I.V. Surf Gathering

The U.C.S.B. campus was especially beautiful that day.

5054 U.C. Splendor

5054 U.C. Splendor

Back near town, Shoreline Park offered a sparkling green introduction to Our Town.

5093 Emerald City

5093 Emerald City

Some days there are schools of fish so big they make shifting shapes like this one sheltering near the pier.

1188 School Shape

1188 School Shape

Often the pelicans, gulls and other birds join with dolphins and other predators at such schools for a fish feast.

5109 Feeding Frenzy

5109 Feeding Frenzy

A big storm soon after muddied the water for a major change of scene.

5377 Brown Out

5377 Brown Out

A bridge project downtown was set back when the storm runoff washed away forms just when they were ready for the concrete to be poured into them.

5450 Bridge Setback

5450 Bridge Setback

But local surfers were treated to some memorable rides.

5490 Surf City

5490 Surf City

I’ll continue this catch up with more pix from our flights this year, in the next post. It’s fun to see them again while sharing them here, reminding us yet again how happy we are to be Home.

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2017/08/28

Love & Letting Go

Feelings ran high, beneath the surface, as the family gathered for a last night and morning in paradise. So between collecting our things and tidying up, we paused for a few more moments enjoying the kids’ delight.

104846 Last Moments

104846 Last Moments

All too soon our last farewells were done. We began dispersing across the West in jets high over the deep waters as this journey slipped into memory over the horizon. Our own afternoon jet pointed a wing toward the parking spot of the GA plane we’d flown to Hāna at sunset.

135051 Wing Memories

135051 Wing Memories

It seemed a heartbeat until we passed yesterday’s GA takeoff, climbing toward home.

135833 Last Glance

135833 Last Glance

Watching the world turn far below, waves of memories reflected on the Pacific. At some point clear sky changed to dotted clouds yielding to a solid barrier between us and the sea. After sunset I felt the start of our descent toward LAX and opened Avare on my phone to follow along. We changed planes and in a blink we emerged again into rain below the clouds to the welcoming lights of Goleta.

FinalRwy7-SBA

Final, Runway 7, SBA

Even in the dark it was easy to pick out the familiar places we’ve flown over in small planes, and visited on the ground. As wheels touched home I snapped one last memory on this trip of a lifetime.

Touching Home

Touching Home

Writing this months later, I dimly recall the Dreams we had of that journey. I recall transforming those dreams into a solid Plan, and unfolding and adapting that Plan into a trip we actually Take. Now we Remember the trip and notice those memories softening into an evolving Dream.

It seems to me we try to hold onto the people, things and memories we love. At the same time we learn that change is constant, and often painful. Loving is the easy part for me. So perhaps the lesson is: Love is about Letting Go.

2017/08/01

Many Maui

We added to the “Maui” we first explored together some years ago and the ones we enjoyed recently, as previously described here in the O.U. Adventure. Adding my family is the biggest new Maui, because it’s a wonderful place for family fun. We started off the last day of 2016 hanging out, then formed a threesome for a drive from Lahaina through Kapalua and beyond. That’s the rainy side.

2960 Rain Shrouded Molokai

2960 Rain Shrouded Molokai

It was beautiful! We’d thought about driving all the way to Kahului, but the weather changed our minds. As you might imagine, we have lots of pix. Speaking of which, all of us took many pix of the family fun and closeness but we’ve already shared those around so I’ll mostly stick with scenery. Like this striking clash of rock and surf.

2967 Fluid vs. Solid

2967 Fluid vs. Solid

By the time we were driving back, Molokai was melting out of the clouds.

3014 Mist & Mountain

3014 Mist & Mountain

Back on the dry side we all enjoyed cool Maui drinks and were treated to a final 2016 sunset out beyond Lanai.

3026 Lanai Finale

3026 Lanai Finale

We quietly took in a distant fireworks show to launch 2017. I have to share this blurry pic after the show, of the kids squealing with delight as they ran around the lawn with sparklers. If you recall this from childhood or have watched kids doing it, maybe you can understand why I smile recalling it from this painterly cellphone pic.

203500 Sparkling Youth

203500 Sparkling Youth

Also this next pic of a little angel fearlessly climbing high into a mall playground structure as adults watched alertly. 🙂

143425 Climbing

143425 Climbing

After a full day 1/1/17 recovering from one drink too many and discovering more Maui in assorted small groups, we reconvened for group pix that ended at the beach. While kids ran in the sand, the rest of us talked quietly as if unconsciously realizing that our time here was growing short. Again the sun slipped into the sea beyond Lanai, and we plotted more Maui for the morrow.

175320 Savoring Sunset

175320 Savoring Sunset

2017/07/31

Aloha

We slept perhaps three hours between us on that long NZ-HI flight, so when Honolulu lights appeared we got to watch.

061813 Honolulu Lights

061813 Honolulu Lights

We sleepily enjoyed our first day back in the U.S. despite a canceled flight from HNL to Maui, and our third phone failure including the expensive new one from Sydney. Yet our spirits soared when we finally did lift off, giving us yet another aerial look at Oahu and now familiar Waikiki, Molokai, Lanai, and even distant Hawaii.

162900 Waikiki

162900 Waikiki

Needless to say, we have quite a few pix of that crossing even though they’re from a phone (with at least a working camera) looking through an airliner window. One of the clearest pix in the set is this one on final approach to OGG at Kahului, Maui.

165752 Kahului

165752 Kahului

With our schedule for the day now completely random, we had the great good fortune to connect with sweet friend Paula. She too was exhausted, so after some warm conversation we turned in early for an especially delicious sleep. After a morning walk with more deep dialog we began the family phase of this epic journey. We met up with our daughter, husband and grand daughter at a traditional Hawaiian location.

120954 Ancient Ritual

120954 Ancient Ritual

Yes, that’s Costco. With so many family members about to arrive, we needed to get supplies. Our precious little one had acquired blisters on her feet so I carried her around the store to our mutual delight. Then we drove in two cars to the magnificent vacation home gifted to all of us by my amazing sister. It was her gift that had prompted our extension of the trip to include all the wonders of NZ & AU. So it was no surprise to see this rainbow over the house as we arrived.

165147 Rainbow Greeting

165147 Rainbow Greeting

Soon our bundle of delight joined us exploring while everyone else trickled in and her perfect parents continued setting up for the stay.

171430 Memories with Grammy

171430 Memories with Grammy

Much of our next day was taken up by my sudden intense sore throat. We were all terrified it was contagious, but in the end it may have been an extreme allergic reaction. I was well enough the next night to join the family for an authentic luau meal and performance.

194514 Luau

194514 Luau

Also performing were the kids, after having watched the show intently.

200548 Apprentice Dancers

200548 Apprentice Dancers

By the next morning I was feeling nearly normal, and once the pix from our last day of 2016 are ready to post here you can come along on our driving tour and join us celebrating an especially Happy New Year.

2017/07/29

High Lights

This trip of a lifetime to Hawaii, New Zealand and Australia brought countless highlights. Having finished our time in Queenstown, NZ we were headed toward the next peak experience: celebrating the New Year with my family back on Maui. Of course, for aviators like us another highlight would be the journey there.

141016 Into The Blue

141016 Into The Blue

Though forecasts said we’d see clouds on the short Auckland hop to catch our night flight to Maui, the airport looked like this. A few minutes after boarding we were looking through a blurry jet window back at Queenstown and all our new memories there.

141019 Queenstown Into Memory

141019 Queenstown Into Memory

Moments later we got this view of the area far across the other side of the lake, where we first spotted Queenstown from that small plane so long ago (a few days).

141021 Both Sides

141021 Both Sides

Soon after, we got a last look back at vanishing Queenstown now far at the end of the other arm of the massive lake.

144424 Looking Back

144424 Looking Back

Despite the gloomy forecast, Aoraki peeked out of the clouds gathering on our path to bid farewell.

150214 Mount Cook

150214 Aoraki (Mount Cook)

Also departing it seemed, were the dwindling glaciers flanking the peak.

150303 Glacier Remnants

150303 Glacier Remnants

Soon we crossed from South Island to North Island and were treated to a cloudless view of distant Ruapehu at the zoom limits of a cell camera through jet plexi.

154608 Ruapehu

154608 Ruapehu

Beneath that solid cloud deck Auckland was inviting in muted colors, with the bustling city tower barely visible in the far distance beyond a quiet cemetery.

160000 Muted Auckland

160000 Muted Auckland

Making our wait for the connecting flight a delight, we were joined by our new friend we’d shared that glorious Ardmore GA flight with. He’d made a special trip to see us off and chat about our hopes of him coming to the U.S.

175636 Hero John

175636 Hero John

So many wonderful people we’d met in our New Zealand travels, and John is an exemplar. He capped our last moments here, and before long we rode new wings into the night reaching toward the high lights of sparkling stars. Soon memories of our times in this enchanted land faded into the realm of dreams.

213548 Dream Trip

213548 Dream Trip

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