John & Anne Wiley

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.

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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.

2017/03/21

Up Again At Last!

Excited as I was last week to begin posting pix of our two amazing NZ South Island flights in a single day, it was delayed by resolving a minor avionics issue with Tripp. So here are my fave pix from the first of those two flights. You may recall our drive to the Alexandra airport on a mesa in the previous post. Well the next day we scored a free short ride with a generous expert pilot in their club!

0964 Clyde Perspective

0964 Clyde Perspective

Just a couple of minutes after liftoff we had this glorious view up the valley to Clyde next to the dam and to snow-capped peaks beyond. Driving and hiking in the area had been interesting, beautiful and fun of course. But seeing it all now from this perspective made our aviator hearts soar with delight! Soon we passed over the red roof of our B&B on the cliff above the river.

0967 Clyde B&B

0967 Clyde B&B

In just a few more minutes we got this new view up the gorge to Cromwell.

1020 Cromwell & Beyond

1020 Cromwell & Beyond

We just Love the spectacular views and perspective provided by flying in small planes (G.A.), and how many different delights like this you can enjoy in just a few minutes aloft. About ten minutes after takeoff we saw these beautiful jagged peaks above Queenstown to the West, as we turned back South toward summery Alexandra.

1033 Distant Snowy Peaks

1033 Distant Snowy Peaks

Along the gorge on the way back I got a new view of the many ancient rocks, far beyond what we’d glimpsed on the bus ride from Dunedin. This outcrop had a natural stone bowl sheltering a bog at the base.

1098 Stories in Stone

1098 Stories in Stone

As you might guess from my rock obsession, I snapped far too many pix like this. But here’s just one more I really like, with magical shapes that shifted before our eyes as we drifted past with a Tolkien dragon’s eye view of this terrain ideally cast for scenes in Hobbit and Lord of the Rings films.

1170 Rune Stones

1170 Rune Stones

As we approached Alexandra to turn back again to overfly the airport before turning yet again to land, we saw it anew. You can’t really make them out in this pic, but we could see the old bridge abutments beyond the new bridge. Off to the left a little we could see the footbridge we’d walked with the giant clock on the hill above, now looking so small as to be nearly invisible in this pic.

1226 Alexandra Anew

1226 Alexandra Anew

Thrilling as it is to see newly familiar places from above, we were about to fly over territory completely new to us. Too much excitement for one day? Not at all, but maybe too many pix from that flight for our next post?

For this incredible half an hour aloft, we dearly thank Mike and the wonderful group that is the Central Otago Flying Club. I hope they’re reading this, because true to the open spirit of the international aviation community we dearly hope they’ll visit so we can return the favor flying them around Santa Barbara.

2017/01/28

Over The Rainbow

Rainbows appeared everywhere we’d been on Oahu & Maui, and it was all the more magical to lift off from HNL toward New Zealand cruising miles above the rainbows. We passed over Kiribati, which holds fascination for me since Y2K when it featured in New Year celebrations as the first place on earth to greet the new millennium. Alas, it was lost in clouds below us, and foretold of fuzzy weather awaiting us in Auckland after our 9-hour flight.

182947 Gray Greeting

182947 Gray Greeting

In the hazy distance you can just make out the Sky Tower, a tiny point on the horizon just left of center. We descended over the island and saw many hints of what was ahead, yearning for clear air and windows that open. Rather than take the rather expensive new light rail, we opted for the cheapo shuttle bus with lots of locals and other visitors to chat with, giving us an intro to the city. Of all the fun scenery along the route, this dance bar sign caught my Yankee psychologist eye.

125618 You Are Wanted

125618 You Are Wanted

By the time we checked into our cozy affordable room right in the heart of Queen Street downtown, it was getting dark as we ventured out into the mist.

8117 Into Mystery

8117 Into Mystery

Despite all our Dreaming and Planning we had little clue what to expect, so a sweet sense of mystery brightened our weary eyes. We’d paid the relatively small extra fee for a “SkyCouch” but didn’t get more than half a night’s sleep (we’re told ANZ’s Premium Economy is better & cheaper). After an hour of wandering a few blocks we settled in and dreamed the night away.

Morning found us blearily greeting a new reality, both in Kiwi country and because Anne’s phone with expensive NZ calling plan died. If you have a “smart” phone, you’ll guess the trauma that entails at the start of an enchanted adventure. After doing all I could to resuscitate it without tools, the view from our window of Auckland Town Hall coaxed us “half-connected” out beyond Cyberia into the colorful new world around us.

8133 Window On Wonderland

8133 Window On Wonderland

We love Auckland! The architecture, people, and enchanting mix of calm cosmopolitan bustle. It totally made up for the fuzzy weather (see the Sky Tower disappearing into it?), especially after French Coffee at the cafe around the corner. Across the street is this fanciful square in front of the concert hall.

8197 Art Walk

8197 Art Walk

In our already altered state, the creativity here helped us see the artistic magic in everything (and everyone) on our meander down Queen Street.

8185 Green & Human

8185 Green & Human

It’s a great place for walking, with little traffic compared to other big city cores and lots of green. Though there are lots of people on the wide sidewalks, as conveyed by this pic…

8180 Quiet Din

8180 Quiet Din

…we were well spread out and mostly moving at a sedate pace in remarkably quiet yet colorful and stimulating surroundings. Plenty of tall buildings to gawk at, with a wide array of styles and eras welcoming yet another boom of new construction.

8174 Architectural Variety

8174 Architectural Variety

One surprising landing we made on our walkabout was at the music shop. Surprising because we’d packed very light for 5.5 weeks in climates ranging from tropics to snow: one small “travelpro” checked bag and small soft backpack each. After all that frugal winnowing of every square inch, only the muse can explain our purchase of this candy apple red ukulele to poke his head out my backpack on the rest of our journey.

8199 Creative Impulse

8199 Creative Impulse

Well, we also got a great deal (esp. with USD exchange rate) and we love the bright tone.

With low clouds and only two nights before our quick jaunt to Australia, I didn’t try to ferret out any GA flying options. Instead we went up in the Sky Tower and got this glimpse down at our hotel.

8430 Down Home

8430 Down Home

Looking up across the island we could almost make out the airport in the hazy distance among the gradually clearing cloud cover. Rising above the streets we’d wandered, our hearts were already starting to move toward the journey beyond.

8312 Beyond The City

8312 Beyond The City

In a few hours we were already back aboard another airliner climbing toward Sydney, glancing back where we’d just been in that distant tower. From these two high perspectives, we’d begun to sense the adventures awaiting us after “Oz.”

8456 High Perspective

8456 High Perspective

Yet as we got this last glance back at the New Zealand coast, a touch of melancholy upon leaving this sweet place quietly passed, before we looked ahead to the vast cloud-dotted blue of the Tasman Sea.

8493 Looking Back & Ahead

8493 Looking Back & Ahead

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