Friday, September 21, 2007


Oh, Ohio: Another Travel Journal to an Exotic Locale

Hey, folks. Our Woman in L.A. and I recently returned from a trip to Ohio to visit Our Man in L.A.'s mom. We were there for a couple of days. Now, I know what you're thinking.

You're thinking, "But Our Man in LA, just a couple of days in Ohio? You can't possibly do Ohio in a couple of days! The flats in Cleveland! The Horse Shoe in Columbus! The Air Force Museum and the blue suspension bridge from RAIN MAN! So many points of interest!"

Dayton by night. Ah, the Gem City.

Birthplace of the cash register, the airplane, the automobile self-starter, microfiche, water-proof cellophane, and gas masks. Setting of the first NFL game and the first pinewood derby.

Blogger's note to Ohioans reading this: Sorry if it feels like I'm picking on you. Yes, I know that Ohio is the birthplace of more Presidents than any other state. No comment on how good any of them were. And I know the Wright Brothers are from Dayton. Seriously, I get it. I don't mean to pick. Anyway, it's not like I wouldn't pick on any number of other states if I visited there. I mean, come on. Have you ever been to Arkansas? Or southern Illinois? Holy smokes.

But you still don't have an ocean or mountains.

Anyway, back to the travelogue. A couple of things I want to point out from our travels.

We had to rent a car for our stay, and man, did our rental car company hook us up. They gave us a Mercury Grand Marquis. Now, I don't mean to offend anyone out there, but have you seen these cars? They are hilarious. Why didn't we just get a different one you ask? Well, for one, the only other option available was a mini-van. Tempting as that was, we opted for the Mercury.

Seriously, this is what it looked like. Same color and everything. And navy blue shag-a-rific carpeting and seats inside. Dude, you step into this car, and you feel like you're ready to move to Florida. I think the white shoes and matching belt set come optional.

We flew into Columbus and then drove to Dayton. It's about a 70 mile journey through the heart of central Ohio. Along the way, we were quickly reminded that we were not in California anymore. No, it wasn't the weather. It wasn't even the plethora of Cracker Barrels or Waffle House restaraunts.

It was stuff like this . . .

Sorry for the wide-angle view. We didn't take this picture. (I know, I know. "You didn't take your camera to DAYTON?? Sorry, guys . . .)

Just in case you forgot your reading glasses, it's a gigantic roadside billboard that reads "JESUS IS REAL". If you click on the photo, you can see it better.


Then, as if to top that one - or to be its friend, we saw another gigantic sign about a mile further down.


Do you think the question's meant to be rhetorical? Because 15 miles east of Springfield, OH, would not be Our Man in LA's first choice. I mean, even Our Man in LA's hometown of Kettering might be better for time immemorial.

Cause . . . you know, they've got a mall there. With a Bar Louie and a Border's. And . . . movie theaters . . .

I'm being snotty again, aren't I? Sorry. My bad.

Thursday, September 13, 2007


Last day......

Day 9.

This is Our Man and Woman in L.A.'s last full day in Hawaii. Deep heavy sigh. We wanted to spend the day doing really relaxing stuff. Soaking in the sun, hiking, a visit to the hotel spa.

We started the day with a morning hike. We heard there was a cool trail that started near our hotel called the Heritage Trail that was home to some archeological sites. Our Man in L.A. loves to get his history on. So, we were off. The trail was not too long (about 4 miles or so) but it definetely was a workout. Much of the hike was high above the ocean, which made for great ocean views. About 20 minutes into the hike, we saw this:

Ahh, nothing quite inspires confidence in hikers like signs of possible death. Love it.

As we continued, we did get to said archeological site. It was an ancient fishing village and the only remaining sign of it was this wall. I don't remember how far back it dates, but, I'm guessing pretty far.

At the end of the hike, we found this secluded and quiet beach. It was paradise. The water felt great on our tired feet.

After the hike, we headed back to the hotel and plunged into the pool. And the water slide. Got our tropical drink on. For free. Then, later that day, off to the hotel spa. The Hyatt spa is a bit out of control. In a really nice, uber calming, super detailed kind of way. Our Man in L.A. opted for a Swedish massage, and Our Woman in L.A. opted for the Thai massage. We left there feeling blissful.

But, as the saying goes, all good things must come to an end. The next morning we headed back to the airport for our journey home. Before that, we had time to take a picture of our last Hawaiian sunrise. It was breathtaking.

Thanks Hawaii. We really appreciated your hospitality. We are sure to return. Until then......

Up Next: Our Man and Woman in L.A. head to Ohio for the weeekend! Can't wait to see the ocean. Oh wait, there's no ocean there. What's that? It's going to be in the low 40's at night? Ahhh. Love that midwest.

Monday, September 10, 2007


Hawaiian Journal - Something I have in common with Anne Heche

And it's not a made-up spaceperson language. I have an authentic one. But that's not important right now.

Day 8

Time was running short on our Hawaiian vacation, but Our Woman in L.A. and I had one more set of activities to go. We were headed on a half-day snorkeling and boating trip up to the beautiful and famous Na Pali Coast, on the north shore of Kauai.

Only three ways to get your Na Pali on: 1) By helicopter; 2) By boat - and not just any kind of boat will do (there are certifications, paperwork, a first born sacrificed . . .); and 3) Hike 13 miles one way to get to the edge of the coastline (and most of that 13 miles is mountain), and then a 13 mile trek back. For the record, I understand that the hike option is awesome, but, like the route to my father's elementary school, it is up hill, both ways. No snow, though, which is a plus.

Anyway, we took the boat. We'd seen it on Day 7 by whirly bird, so it was cool to get close up.

Before we got on the boat, though, we saw a geniune omen of a good day ahead. Check it out:

As soon as the boat got going, Our Woman in L.A. got happy. She was happy before, but nothing - and I mean nothing - turns that girl into a zen-like, "nothing can bother me" happy trance like quality time spent on a boat. Nothing. I mean it. Not fun dip, not chocolate or Indigo Girls concerts. Nothing. So this was pretty good. How good?

Check it out:

Notice here that Our Woman in L.A. is wearing a special dive shirt for our snorkeling adventure later on. We were good while in Hawaii. We used 50+ SBF sunblock, we tried to stay in the shade some of the time. But the dive shirt really makes a big diffference - especially if you're fair-skinned, sitting on the deck of a boat most of the day, and then swimming with the fishes.

For the record, Our Man in L.A. has one, too. It's a black turtleneck, which mean that I didn't sun burn, but I did look arty.

Anyway, on the way to the coast, we saw a lot of ocean life. Sea turtles swam by, flying fish jetted through the air, and dolphins jumped and played by the boat. We tried to photograph said dolphins, and you can almost make one out here:

Finally we got to the coast. It's pockmarked with caves and amazing nearly-untouched beaches. Remember how hard it is to get here? You can't even get to these beaches by hiking. They're amazing. Like this one (with the cave):

Incidentally, it's this beach that we have in common with Anne Heche. It's the beach from Six Days and Seven Nights, which I didn't see, but it's a pretty swell beach. One of the Jurassic Parks got shot here, too, but somehow the dinosaurs missed eating Ms. Heche.

We snorkeled around for about an hour, and then the boat took us back. Later that day, we treated ourselves to the local haute cuisine . . . at a little place called Bubba's Burgers. It was Bubbalicious. But the rest of the day called for vegging out by the hotel pool, and having a casual dinner at the hotel. For free, remember.

Ah, that's something that puts Our Man in L.A. in a blissful mood. Free drinks, too.

Tomorrow: One last full day in an Aloha State. Wow, it's even sad to type that.

Saturday, September 08, 2007


Hawaiian Journal - Oh my God, Magnum!

Day 7

Like a lot of people our age, Our Woman in L.A. and I got our first taste of the Hawaiian isles by watching Tom Selleck dispatching bad guys and speeding around in a Ferrari in episodes of MAGNUM, P.I.

Actually, only I got my first taste of Hawaii that way. Our Woman in L.A. is proud to point out that she was too young to watch that show, or was more interested in THE SNORKS during that era. Sigh.

Either way, we couldn't afford to rent a Ferrari to tool around the islands a la Magnum and the boys. But we could afford a helicopter tour of Kauai - which at least is something that T.C., Rick and Higgins would approve of. So early in Day 7, we approached the local HQ of Blue Hawaiian Helicopters, and they took us up in this thing:

We'd never been in a helicopter before, and it pretty much kicked ass. Sure, there was a little bit of nausea as we juked in and out of canyons, dipping and weaving from altitude to altitude. But where else are you going to get views like this one:

Or this one:

When the tour was over, they even gave us a DVD of our journey. It's really fun. We would share it with you, but . . . we really don't know how. I'm pretty sure it involves posting the video to Youtube, and then providing a link here. And, in keeping with the Hawaiian attitude, we're just not in a hurry to do that.

So when it was over, we returned to the hotel with just enough time for a drink, a change of clothes, and then a trip north to the town of Princeville, for dinner at the uber-chi-chi Princeville Resort.

But then . . . it happened. Remember that smell from the Day 6 post? Our Woman in L.A. swore she smelled something in our room? Remember how I told her she was nuts?

Yeah. Never question the nose.

So we're sitting on the balcony with those drinks I mentioned when we both started to smell a neighbor puffing away on a cigar. Our Woman in L.A. swears that it was a very intense cigar. I think it seemed serious and sincere, but questioning the Nose is what got me in this mess.

Calmly - quite calmly, actually - Our Woman in L.A. walked into the room, picked up the phone, and called the front desk. The conversation went like this --

Stephanie: Hi, I just wanted to report that there's a really intense cigar being smoked on our floor. I wanted to ask why.

Desk Jockey: Do you want me to send security?

Stephanie: I don't think it's a matter of security. I just don't understand why someone's smoking on our non-smoking floor.


Stephanie: I mean, this is a non-smoking floor. Correct?

Desk Jockey: Um . . .

Stephanie: Please tell me that you didn't put my husband and I on a smoking floor when we requested non-smoking more than six months. I know that you wouldn't put someone like me with severe allergies close to a bunch of smokers. That just doesn't sound like something the Hyatt would do, or am I wrong, ma'am?

And from there, the apologizing began (along with an offer to take Steph to the local hospital). I heard phrases like, "This is my vacation, so I'm not going to raise my voice, but I do need you to handle this with professionalism and grace." Either way, I think you get the picture.

The outcome? A new room on a non-smoking floor, free breakfasts for the rest of the trip, five free drink coupons, a free bottle of champagne, two free meal vouchers for something other than breakfast, and . . . well, I guess that's about it. We were happy. And so, we headed to Princeville.

The Princeville Resort is pretty ornate and cool. But let's let the pictures do the talking --

Unbelievable meal - and, as you can see, some of the best views on the island. After the meal was through, we stayed out on the terrace and watched the sun set over our dessert. Another perfect day.

Day 8: It starts with a rainbow . . .


Blog Interrupted

Not that it's any big surprise to anyone, but Our Man and Woman in L.A. took a few days (OK, a week) away from posting, totally leaving you in suspense about the second half of our Hawaiian adventures. Mea culpa, mea culpa. But you probably expected it.

But look, this time we have legit excuses. Really, we do. What's more, these excuses will show you a side of Southern California that normally does not grace this blog. Like, for example:

1) Rolling Power Outages - That's right, last week was a particularly hot one in L.A., and with nearly 7 million people all needing their A/C, the Department of Water and Power (DWP or "those geniuses") couldn't keep up. Which meant that they planned blackouts for parts of the city to "manage" the demand for power. Our power was out every day for five days in a row, sometimes for as little as two hours, but sometimes for as much as 12. Other neighborhoods affected included virtually the entire city. Either way, it's tough to blog when you've got no electricity.

2) Earthquake - A 4.7 with epicenter in Lake Elsinore, which is . . . somewhere. It didn't do anything except shake our apartment a little, but it's a decent excuse. FYI, this was Our Woman in L.A.'s first quake (only my second).

3) Out of Town Travel - Our Man in L.A.'s work took him to Philadelphia for a meeting with a potential corporate sponsor. For those who don't know, Philadelphia is Our Man in L.A.'s least favorite East Coast city, and visiting the City of Brotherly Something often requires a day or two of recuperation.

That's it, really. But seriously, aren't those pretty good?

OK, back to work.

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