“Pic of the Week”, July 10, 2020: Kahana Beach Park, Oahu

east shore oahu (2)

Situated on the windward east coast of Oahu is this lovely beach — the kind one imagines when thinking of relaxing on Hawaii.
This is Kahana Bay Beach Park.  It has a beautiful beach surrounded on three sides by the steep, lush green Ko’olau Mountains.  The bay’s waters are generally calm but few people swim here because the water is murky from the runoff of Kahana Stream.
Local residents like to camp here during weekends.  It’s a good place to have a BBQ and enjoy the beach and lovely island scenery.  We just stopped by in the late afternoon to stretch our legs and enjoy the views.
(Click on thumbnails to enlarge, right arrows to advance slideshow)


 

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.All Trips / California / North America / Southwestern USA

A Day at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

San Diego Zoo Safari (1)

The San Diego Zoo Safari Park is found near Escondido, California, about a half hour’s drive northeast of San Diego and its world famous San Diego Zoo.  
I’ve visited the San Diego Zoo Safari Park about a half dozen times in the past 35 years and really enjoyed every visit.  When we first came to the park decades ago the place was known as San Diego Wild Animal Park, but in 2010 the name was changed because some people were apparently getting it and the zoo confused.  This is not the zoo — it’s where you can go on a (sort-of) safari.  But at either place you’ll have the chance to see a large quantity and variety of …

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“Pic of the Week”, July 3, 2020: Snow Plant, California

Snow Plants, Yosemite (2)

The only place I’ve ever seen snow plant is on the western (wetter) slopes of California’s Sierra Nevada mountains, especially in Yosemite National Park.  It’s hard to miss seeing snow plant if its there, as it’s bright red and stands out against the melting snow and tree litter in which it grows. 
Some interesting facts about snow plant:
1) It’s a bright fleshy red plant (herb) of the Indian-pipe family, usually 15-30 cm (under a foot) tall
2) It grows in high-altitude conifer forests of California, Nevada and Oregon (generally between 1000 – 3000 m altitude)
3) It derives its nourishment from soil fungi attached to the roots of pine trees, and does not need sunlight to survive
4) It usually pops out in late …

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.All Trips / Arkansas / Central USA / North America

A Visit to Thorncrown Chapel, Arkansas

00 Thorncrown Chapel (43)

One of the loveliest modern chapels I’ve ever visited is Thorncrown Chapel, located in Eureka Springs, Arkansas.
Thorncrown Chapel was designed by E. Fay Jones, who had apprenticed with the great Frank Lloyd Wright, and was built in 1980.  The chapel was commissioned by Jim Reed, a retired schoolteacher, who wanted to create a non-denominational pilgrimage chapel for meditation.  The chapel is elegant yet blends in with the local landscape, seeming an airy part of it.
Thorncrown Chapel is constructed mostly of local wood (e.g. Southern pine) and was built with the general rule of thumb that no materials bigger than what two people could carry should be used (e.g. 2x6s instead of massive beams).  The floor is constructed with slabs of …

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.All Trips / Car Culture / Europe / Poland

Great Cars Along the Highway: Nysa Passenger Vans, Krakow

06 Krakow Van

When we visited Poland I noticed a style of passenger van being used in the tourist trade with which I was not familiar.
A little research revealed that it’s a Polish made van, the ‘Nysa 522’, a symbol of the Communist era.  It was manufactured in Nysa, Poland from 1958 – 1994.  Nysa built it to be a multifunctional van and it was used for carrying cargo and passengers, less commonly as ambulances.  Nysa vans were also commonly used by the Communist Militia.
The company did little to improve the van over the years, powering them with relatively gutless 2.2 or 2.5 l engines.  When the Soviet Union collapsed and Democracy re-emerged in Poland, sales of better quality and more popular imported vehicles …

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Central USA / Kansas / North America

“Pic of the Week”, June 26, 2020: Van Gogh Easel, Goodland, Kansas

00 Van Gogh Easel, Goodland (6)

It’s not every day you get to see an enormous Van Gogh painting sitting on an easel in a small prairie town.  But that’s what we encountered recently when traveling through Kansas.
Goodland, in western Kansas, is said to have the World’s Largest Easel.  It’s 80 feet tall and holds a 32 x 24-foot representation of one of Van Gogh’s “Sunflower” paintings.  The painting was constructed using 24 sheets of plywood surrounded by fiberglass mattes and layered with an industrial gel coat.  The paint used was industrial acrylic urethane enamel, known for it’s hardiness in extreme weather conditions.  The easel is built of steel, weighing more than 40,000 pounds. The supports are sunk 35 feet into the ground. 
Goodland’s painting is a …

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.All Trips / Europe / Slovenia

Church of St. John the Baptist, Lake Bohinj, Slovenia

00 Church of St. John the Baptist (18)

One of the most photographed sites in Lake Bohinj is this church.  It’s about 700 years old (although it was constructed over several hundred years) and sits at the lake’s outflow, adjoining an attractive stone bridge.  The church is an important cultural landmark, but I think the main appeal is its beautiful “picture perfect” natural setting. 
The Church of St John the Baptist in this region has a history dating back to the early years of Christianity, but this building was constructed in the Middle Ages.  The nave is of Romanesque architecture.  The walls and ceilings are covered with 15th- and 16th-century frescoes, some of the oldest in Slovenia.

Entry to Church of St. John the Baptist

Entry to Church of St. John the Baptist


As you enter the church you’ll see some interesting murals, as well as the …

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“Pic of the Week”, June 19, 2020: American Bison, Keystone Gallery

02 Keystone Museum, Kansas (9)

We stopped by the Keystone Gallery after visiting Monument Rocks, south of Oakley, Kansas. Unfortunately the Gallery was not yet open for the season. Still, our stop turned out to interesting.
Immediately adjoining the Gallery was a large pasture wherein we spotted this bison. He was surprisingly near and, as we had a barb-wire fence between us, we hopped out of our car to try to snap some close-up photos — the closest I’ve ever been to a bison (a.k.a. buffalo).
At first we thought this bison was alone, but soon it became apparent that he was part of a small herd as others started drifting over a rise in the pasture.  A small reminder of a time when thousands of bison …

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