Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Halemaumau Crater---The Earth Breathes

Look at that big hole, called a vent, in the earth's crust on the rim of Halemaumau Crater on the Big Island. It's spewing 1,000 tons of steam and sufuric acid and other gases every day. Yikes! I'm standing on the wall of the Jagger Museum at Volcano National Park. Sometimes the wind shifts and the gases drifts towards the park. They can be so toxic that the whole place gets closed down.

The Earth is Always Changing! Always!

This is what happened just a few months ago. Now this toxic air, called vog, can affect all the islands if the wind is blowing right.

Look Closely-----Psssst, It's not Fog!

I hiked around the edge of the Kiluaea Crater and there were steam vents all over the place. I was very safety conscious, as usual, and didn't fall in one! Thank goodness!

Always Ready to Lend a Hand

Here I am with Dave, the ranger, and his silly friend. He told me lots about volcanos. He works here seasonally and gives bike tours on his time off. Sounds like a great lifestyle! Don't you think?

Loving the Stage

Here I am in a little theater in the town of Hilo, Hawaii. I'm at the 'Imiloa Astronomy Center. There was so much to learn here. I had lots of fun. Check out this place if you ever visit the Big Island. Go to www.imiloahawaii.org and see for yourself.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Mauna Kea--I'm on the Top of the World!

Wow!! Look at me! I'm standing on the highest mountain in the world. The air is very thin, so I'm feeling a little lightheaded.

This is one of the best places on the globe to see the celestial sphere--everything in outer space. Behind me is one of the thirteen observatories on this mountaintop. The next photo shows four more. The silver one on the right belongs to NASA and only measures infrared light.

Getting to the Top-Brrrrrrr!!

Because the altitude of Mauna Kea is 14,000 feet, it is very, very cool throughout the year. Can you believe that---this is Hawaii!!
Mandy is dressed so warmly and it's June for goodness sakes!!
If you ever decide to journey here, bring your warmest clothes!

Almost to the Top! Pant, Pant.

I'm at 9,000 feet up the slope of Mauna Kea. I had to stay here at the Visitor Center for two hours before I went to the summit so my little doggie body would adjust to the altitude. Remember, I live at sea level most of the time and there is lots more oxygen in the air there than at 14,000 feet ABOVE sea level!

Heading Up!

The road to the top of the mountain was really bumpy most of the way. It took almost half an hour (30 minutes) to get to the Gemini Observatory. Just a little ways before (see the logo above). We reached the summit, the road was paved. Can you guess why?
It keeps the dust down so the astronomers have a clearer view of the sky at night.
Anyone in good health, over 16, and not pregnant, can visit there. Just make sure you have the right kind of car to drive up; four-wheel drive only.

Feeling a Little Woozy

The altitude was a bit much for me. I started getting a little stomachache and feeling faint. So I went into the control room of the Gemini Observatory and took it easy. Luckily they had a big, soft sofa on which I would rest. Chris is an engineer from England who kept me company. He was using his computer to correct a problem with a laser on the telescope. It was quite a bit too complicated for my little doggie brain.

From Around the World

Here I am with Tom (holding me) and Glenn, scientists who study outer space. We're at the staff building where I had lunch and dinner while I was visiting Mauna Kea. Notice all the flags. Thirteen countries have astronomers living here and researching the celestial sphere using the telescopes in the observatories. Tom is from the United States and Glenn is from England. Glenn thought I was a very interesting chap, indeed!!

Everyone's Working Together

I loved the logo of the astronomers and support team at Mauna Kea and in Hilo. I like it when everyone gets along and collaborates, especially scientists. I hope you'll be able to come visit sometime soon!! It's really fun and interesting.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Plant, Grow, Harvest, Prepare, Eat Slowly

The title above is the mission of the Slow Food organization that started in Rome, Italy. Sounds right to me!
Check it out: slowfoodusa.org

Surfing with the Gecko

Here I am at the Slow Food Benefit in Honolulu. Inside was the yummiest food ever, prepared by the best restaurants in town, and live music, too.
I like supporting organizations that promote a healthy lifestyle.

In Charge on Oahu

Here I am with Laurie Carlson. She leads the Slow Food movement here in Hawaii and also puts out the newspaper, The Honolulu Weekly. The Weekly and the Kokua Foundation (remember Jack Johnson?) sponsor this annual fundraising event! Bravo to them!

And What Will You Bid?

Karen Miyano is one of the people in charge of the Silent Auction at the Slow Food Benefit. She does a wonderful job organizing. Thanks so much to her for volunteering.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Isn't She Beautiful!!

Here I am with Amanda and her boxer dog, Caden, who doesn't quite know what to make of me. Amanda is a beauty queen and a champion dancer. I just love being around her because she's always so bubbly and happy. Her million dollar smile is contagious!!

A New Pal at the Airport

Can you believe all the ribbons and buttons on this bear? He's been to more places that I have. His name is Theodore Van Gogh, Teddy for short, and I met him in Houston while we were both on a layover. His owner, Maggie, is an artist who takes him all over the world. She dresses him up and takes pictures of him in wild costumes. He's even been to the pyramids in Egypt-----lucky guy! Teddy is also the mascot of HAPPY DAYS AND SPECIAL TIMES, an organization for children with cancer.
Find out more about Maggie & Teddy. Go to: www.margarethoybach.com

The Happy Bakers at the Farmer's Market

Yum!!!!!! See those muffins behind us? This pair has a bakery business called "Bread." They sell the best whole grain baked goods ever. Check them out if you are ever in Annapolis, Maryland, on a Saturday morning. Google the market to find out exactly where it is.

Funny Who You Meet at the Bookstore

This is "Hugs" the Clown. I met her in the children's section of a bookstore in Annapolis, Maryland. She loved getting her picture taken with me. See how proud she looks.
I sure do make a lot of new friends when I'm traveling around!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Heading West through Western Maryland

About two hundred years ago, when travelers went west from the East Coast of the United States, they used Route 40 or the National Road. They had to pay money, or a toll, to use the road. The photo above shows how much it cost way back then.

"It's Always Frosty in Frostburg"

So said Beulah as she was getting ready to plant some geraniums on a lamppost in Frostburg. She belongs to a garden club that beautifys this little town located in the mountains of Western Maryland. She was wrapped very warmly because it was soooo cold. Look at the temperature sign behind her. Yikes, 51 degrees, and it's almost summer! And it was even colder because the wind was blowing. Brrrrrrr!!

Sweets in the Burg!

I ducked into McFarland's Candy Shop in Frostburg to get out of the cold. I was a little naughty and bought a 25 cent lollipop!
Leslie was very friendly and told me all about the history of the shop. The store is 60 years old and all their candy is homemade!

Lunchtime on Route 40 West

This is the Princess Restaurant on main street in Frostburg. It's a very good old-fashioned place to have a fine meal and it's a bargain too-----a hamburger is only $1.70. Now that's what I call a deal! Stop in sometime. It's been a gathering place for FSU college students and "townies" for many, many years and still is!

Friday, June 6, 2008

A Big Blue Lap Just for Me!

Don't I look comfy? In the top photo I'm in the gift shop at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. In the bottom picture is a retired naval officer giving some young sailors-to-be facts about this famous college.

From Midshipman To Ensign

This is John. Doesn't he look handsome? He has just graduated from the Naval Academy. He has a big smile on his face because he's very happy. I would be too. Can you tell he's from Hawaii?

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Getting Around in Annapolis

Because Annapolis is on the water with many little creeks and rivers flowing into the harbor, it's easy to get around by boat. I didn't have my own so I just called the "Water Taxi" and he picked me up and delivered me to where I wanted to go. The cost was very nominal (cheap). Here is Tim, the captain of the boat.

Yummy----A Very Sweet Treat!

Oh my goodness, I was lucky to have a store-made ice cream cone at a little shop in Annapolis after I got off the boat. What do you think of my new feathered friends? They sit in the window of the Annapolis Ice Cream Company and sip milkshakes all day long. What a job!

Serenaded in the Water Taxi

These boys, Brandon, Marc, Steve, and Max, grew up in Annapolis and were playing music on the streets when they decided to take the Water Taxi. I was lucky! They played happy music and talked to me on the way back to my destination.