I Heart Turtles

turtle

So we’ve been lucky enough to get to the beach when we got home from our trip through nine states. It was very restful and I really enjoyed taking my cousin to all our favorite island stops. The best part was we were not disappointed at our favorite turtle watching spot.

Turtle closeup

There were at least ten of them and we got to see a couple go in and out of the water.

turtle heading to the beach

Hi Turtle!

He had something to say and Squire was lucky enough to catch it.

turtle talking

I have no idea what he said but I think that they were just chilling and staring at the ocean just like we were.

turtle staring at the water

Home Sweet Home.

turtle going back to the water

Photos Taken by Squire and Monica

Finally Home

So we just got back to Hawaii 2 1/2 hours ago.
In immediate retrospect I have to say that this trip was as positive as I could have hoped. There was a little frustration here and there but nothing that became too big.
Also, all we did was travel really. We bounced from one location straight to another so the plane ride home felt like another bounce (so to speak).
So to nail it down by day, I’ve done it this way:
Day 1-red eye into LA. Drove to Riverside.
Day 2-pick-up truck in Long Beach (Squire and Cameron).
Day 3-shopping for family dinner, road trip and supplies.
Day 4-drove to San Diego. Went to Zoo. Drove from San Diego to Eloy, AZ.
Day 5-drove through Sedona and a couple state parks up there. Stay in Flagstaff for the night.
Day 6-drove to Grand Canyon. Stayed in Albuquerque, NM.
Day 7-drive to the Billy the Kid Museum in Fort Sumner. Stayed in Roswell for the night.
Day 8-checked out the UFO museum. Stayed in San Antonio (3am arrival).
Day 9-went to the Alamo. Stayed in Houston.
Day 10-drove to Mandeville, Louisiana.
Day 11-drove to New Orleans. Visited the museum. Back to Mandeville.
Day 12-went to Kleiberts alligator farm. Back to Mandeville.
Day 13-check out swamp people area. Back to Mandeville.
Day 14-drove out of Louisiana, passed Biloxi, Mississippi, Mobile, Alabama, to Jacksonville, Florida.
Day 15-checked out a few houses in Georgia for my sister to rent. Back to Jacksonville.
Day 16-drove from Jacksonville, Florida to look at some houses and then to Atlanta, Georgia.
Day 17-fly back to Hawaii via Atlanta with a stopover in Seattle.

Road Trip (CA to GA) FL

So we had a long day today. We went through four states to make it to Florida. I took a lot of naps and almost missed Alabama. It’s been a lot of rain because of Little Debbie that is still in the Gulf of Mexico.

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The highlight of today’s trip was trying to figure out how to tie down the tarp for our luggage that has been in the back of the truck as we drove through the rain. The trick was buying some twine and tying it to the luggage and then creating a spiderweb of twine above the tarp as well. We spent at least three rest stops trying to perfect the tarping.

It was definitely a work in progress with a lot of ideas being thrown out. Since none of us knew the right way to do it, it ended up looking kind of silly and messy but it kept it down and our bags from getting soaked, so we are all fans. Yeah, that was a fun part of the experience . . . the rain coming down as we’re precariously walking over luggage and reaching into the bed of the truck to tie twine around luggage handles and the corners of the luggage. We all looked like drowned cats and an airborne each has been dissolved in water and gulped down.

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New memories are definitely worth having, even when it doesn’t feel like it at the time, although I have no question it was a bonding experience.

So, yet again, it’s after 10 at night and we are snug in our motel rooms. Squire’s travel site has helped us again with a relatively cheap room for the night with a real refrigerator, toaster, coffee maker, sink, free wired internet access, and a fold out sofa bed so our nephew has the choice of staying in our room or his parents. Conveniently located next door to a gas station with free breakfast in the morning. We are glad to be spending two days in this hotel, a first for the trip so far.

Goodnight all, nothing officially on the docket for tomorrow, but we’re probably going to be heading to St. Augustine, Florida. Just found out today that it is the oldest settlement. According to the local city site, it was founded in 1565, and is the oldest continuously occupied settlement of European and African-American origin in the United States. Looking forward to going through the town although it will probably be a rain-drenched tour.

Time to hit the hay, for reals. I’m going to actually try to make breakfast tomorrow morning although it will be from 6-9 in the morning.

M~

Road Trip (CA to GA) Louisiana

So this has been the easy part of the leg so far. I would say that the beginning was pretty easy in California because we were also staying with family but because we had a pending cross country road trip at that point we were antsy to get started. In Louisiana, we were visiting with my brother-in-law, Cameron’s sister, Courtney. She lives in Mandeville, across the Causeway from N’awlins.

We got in at a relatively early hour on Wednesday. Probably about 8 at night. Cameron definitely had an agenda in Louisiana though, he wanted to eat and see as many things “Swamp People” related.

Beignets at Cafe Du Monde

Eggs Jonathan at the Famous Gumbo Pot

The food has definitely been a treat. I’ve tried beignets, po’boys, gumbo, jambalaya, lots of oysters-both fried and grilled, and some apple-flavored moonshine. I also tried some sushi and ahi, both of which didn’t compare to what I can find in Hawaii, but not bad at all.

Kleibert's Adult Alligator pond

I never watched “Swamp People” before but saw a few episodes while we’ve been here. It is fun and the people are very interesting and impressive. We also got to go to Kleibert’s Alligator and Turtle Farm. That was neat because we got to meet the Kleiberts that were on the first season of Swamp People. They were fun and definitely helped dispell some myths.

Squire riding the Alligator at Kleibert's

I was able to add to my animal petting list; snakes, tigers, alligators, elephants, and monkeys. I think I may be missing something but that’s okay. I’m still working on it.

Baby Alligator and me

Road Trip 2012 (AZ–LA)

Hi, All.

Okay, this is not working at all. Trying to write and road trip at the same time just doesn’t work. We have been traveling non-stop and have not had much time to rest. It’s been great though, don’t get me wrong. But I’ve obviously been very bad at blogging and the things that we’ve done in between time have started to mush in my mind. I really haven’t had time to take it all in or organize my thoughts.

But I guess I should start with letting you all know why this road trip has happened in the first place. Squire and I are trying to get a non-profit that we’ve gotten off the ground. A lot of the grants were due right before my sister, nephew and her husband were to set off to his new assignment in Georgia. They were going to road trip it from CA and my sister asked if we could go as well. Since I didn’t have the time to spare before they left it seemed the best opportunity to spend some time with them and frankly, add to our list of new experiences.

To begin, I was hesitant. Road trips have such a bad connotation, especially when done with family. I admit there have been moments where I’ve gotten a little worked up but what I said to myself in the beginning and what I’ve had to remind myself of a few times, is that this is something that I’ve never done before, I’m very lucky to have this opportunity for myself and with Squire and it really is awesome. So even now I can still smile.

So this is going to be brief and really not well done. I’m going to try to write about AZ, NM, and TX in very little time. Knowing that I won’t be doing any of them justice.

Arizona – AZ

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The first state we traveled into on this journey and a lot of road trip lessons were learned there. I know in my mind I realized how long the trip was going to take in hours but every little thing takes up a huge amount of time. And even though we cross the border, it doesn’t mean we are anywhere close to where we need to be. Once in Arizona, we stopped to sleep in Eloy and Flagstaff. We got to see Sedona, Flinstones Bedrock, and The Grand Canyon. Although this only slightly counts we did also stop at the meteor crater a mile long as we were leaving the state. That was awesome to see from far off. The admission was a little steep though so we just drove up to it and drove back out. Oh and by steep I mean that it was just one more expense in the grand scheme of things. The admission for adults was $16 and children were $8.

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New Mexico – NM

Once we came into the state we went to visit Billy the Kid’s grave site. We found the museum first and spent a good deal of time checking that out and reading about the history of Billy the Kid, the lore, and see some very cool memorabilia. I loved the grave site, mostly because it also had some tombstones of other people from the area and that was nice to see as well. I do like grave yards, I think they have a lot of history in them through the historical timeline they represent through us.IMG_0703IMG_0761

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After Billy the Kid we stayed in Roswell and visited the Roswell Museum. I was in heaven. It probably is the most geeky thing I like to do. I like alien lore and enjoy seeing all of it. Part of me blames the movie Paul for my renewed interest in it.

Roswell

Alien Gourd

Texas – TX

This state is huge. It was a long drive the first day we entered and the second. We stayed in San Antonio and didn’t get into the hotel till 3 in the morning. We then woke up late and made our way to The Alamo. I realized here that I really like the history you can find and what makes a place unique has to do a lot with what they hold onto of that history. The Alamo is a wonderful place that does just this and celebrates an important part of it what makes Texas so special. After Texas we tried to get through Texas but that didn’t happen and we didn’t end up at a hotel until after 12 at night in Houston. It had a lot to do with the fact that the google map we were using had a tough time getting the direction right and we had two messed up directions and the three phone calls that we made to the hotel also proved useless.

The Alamo

Side note:

We were using a site that Squire actually created to do the bookings for the hotels that we have been staying at during this venture. It’s called bestravelsiteonline.com. It is a site comparison site to search hotels and flights at cheaper rates through all those other sites that are out there, kayak, priceline, hotel.de, travelocity, expedia, etc. So it’s a funnel for over 30 different sites to get you the best prices. We’ve been able to find places that are decent for as low as $37 and we’ve booked with less than an hour to get there. Although we realized that an hour is the best amount of time to give the hotel to make sure that they get our reservation. Most of them have average $50 a night. Sometimes it’s user error though, the google maps being an example and we totally booked for the wrong date (but it was easy enough to cancel because it was far in advance).

squirrel at the alamo

This brings us to Louisiana. And more on that later. Hopefully I’ll be able to catch up soon.

Road Trip 2012 (CA)

Okay, so right now it is about 10:00 p.m. on Father’s Day (Sunday night) and I’m snug in the Roswell motel room this early for the first time since we’ve started on our journey across the continental U.S. from California to Georgia.

a random weed in focus - Road Trip 2012 - SAM

So to recap so far:

Monday – We arrived in California from LAX on Monday, June 11th. We didn’t get back to my aunt and uncle’s house until about 10 or 11 at night. The stay was really nice we got to see two of my cousins, hang out with my Uncle and Auntie, and meet all their turtles (they have six) and their two dogs, Remo (named after Remo Williams) and Gabby, a not-yet-one year old pitbull who is the most friendly pitbull I have ever met. Gabby first greeted me by trying to let me ride her like a horse.

Kissing myself in the zoo - Road Trip 2012 - SAM

Lesson learned: My aunt and uncle don’t live that close to LAX.

Tuesday – Our second day was probably the most boring. Squire and Cameron, my brother-in-law, went to pick up the truck that we’d be taking across country at the Matson dock in Long Beach. They were gone all day. They left at 8:30 a.m. and came back around 6:00 p.m. The thing that made it boring was that we didn’t expect it to take that long so we were basically waiting for them after about 2 p.m. on. Our cousins made spaghetti but overdid it on the salt so we spent a good deal of the day trying to make the spaghetti less salty and we were more or less successful.

Lesson learned: Things are farther then you think they are and time moves faster when you are on the road. You can cut the salt in a spaghetti sauce by throwing in a few chopped up potatoes and celery for about 15 mins., add some honey, a little vinegar, some water, and added more sauce. We aren’t entirely sure if we didn’t have to do all of those things.

Pretty Peacocks in the tree - Road Trip 2012 - SAM

Wednesday – At this point in our stay, we didn’t really get to see to much of my aunt and uncle because they were working (as people do during the week). So we ended up staying an extra night so we could cook them a meal for a change and make the most of their company because they were all home. We made a trip out to Whole Foods to buy some snacks for the road and these cooler bags that they have, that I can swear by. Then we went to go get some ingredients for making some teri-burgers, kale, and sweet potato fries.

Lesson learned: (These lessons we were able to leave with our relatives.) When trying to grill turkey patties on a hibachi-style grill (pieces fall through onto the coals) , if you have the means sear the patties beforehand that way they’ll keep the shape and you won’t loose raw meat pieces to the coal below and it will still have the taste of grilling that we all prefer. Also try adding the teri-sauce to the patty mixture instead of basting it. I think they make them yummier.

Meerkat watching - Road Trip 2012 - SAM

Thursday – Ready to begin the road trip. We made our way down to San Diego so we could check out the San Diego Zoo. I was very stoked because if you know me, you’d know how much I like the animals. I’ve actually been sharing a few of the pics here because they were some of my favorites from our outing there.

Meerkat laying- Road Trip 2012 - SAM

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So after San Diego we began our trip to the next state, Arizona. I hope to blog about it soon. But for now, I’m going to make the most of an earlier night.

Another Day.

Sam Flower

Well it’s been a busy year and a half. A lot of changes. So many in fact, I don’t know what to talk about. So instead I think I’m going to focus on the future. We’ve been busy with Improv Hobby, Inc. The non-profit we received the IRS designation for in the summer of last year. Now I’m in the middle of writing grants and avoiding writing grants.

improvhobby logo

My sister is moving to Georgia so in a few weeks we will be going on a road-trip with her, her husband, and our nephew, from California to their new home for the next few years. I hope to make it to Disney World.

family pic - Sam

For other improv news we’re working on a show with Dicks & Jane. It’s a puppet show that I am thoroughly looking forward to. Here’s a pic of my puppet, Stanley (left), and my favorite friend, Todd. 

Dicks and Jane Puppets