If you have plans to travel to Hawaii and are reconsidering them because of today’s tsunami in the Pacific, please read the following before deciding:
Aloha! Attached and below is an official statement from the Hawaii Tourism Authority regarding the tsunami affecting Hawaii today. We’d like to reiterate that there was no reported damage to infrastructure within the state. Travelers heading to Hawaii should do so without any concern and need not cancel any vacation plans.
For Immediate Release: February 27, 2010
At approximately 1:40 p.m., the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center cancelled the tsunami warning in Hawaii. There was no reported damage to the state as a result of the tsunami generated by the earthquake off the coast of Chile. Hotels and other visitor-related facilities are open and operating normally.
Most flights to and from Hawaii are on schedule, however, there may be some delays and travelers should check with their airline before going to the airport.
For more information, call 1-800-gohawaii or visit http://www.scd.hawaii.gov.
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The end of February is quickly approaching, and with it the end of Black History month. How appropriate to have spent this month in Alabama, the location of extraordinary, courageous acts that led to the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
As if in anticipation of coming to Alabama, I found myself reading To Kill A Mockingbird, published in 1960. The plot takes place in author Harper Lee ‘s hometown, Monroeville, Alabama. Since 1990, a play based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel has been performed annually in Monroeville. If we were going to be here this spring, I’d love to attend the performance!
We also picked up a DVD of the movie, The Long Walk Home, starring Whoopi Goldberg and Sissy Spacek. The film tells the story of ordinary people making individual sacrifices to effect change through the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955. It helped me appreciate the many points of view, from the African American house maid yearning to be treated with dignity to the whites entrenched in a deeply rooted class system.
And we traveled the Selma-Montgomery March Highway — the 47-mile route that voting rights supporters took from Selma to the steps of the state Capitol in March 1965. This year marks the 45th anniversary of that pivotal event.
We’ll share our experience following the Selma-Montgomery March Highway in an upcoming post.
The Cheaha mountain top fell under seige last night. Lightning flashed all around it, attracted by the TV tower, and thunder rumbled and roared. The storm was on top of us! Less than a nanosecond separated the lightning flashes and thunder. For what seemed like a couple of hours, starting at 1:30 a.m., we hunkered under the covers, flinching involuntarily with every zap and boom. Poor Sonya was a trembling mess. For the second time in her life, she got to join us in bed.
We woke to a calm, pea-soup morning. The fog was so thick, we could only see a few feet ahead of us until we got down the mountain. Now we’re heading to Joe Wheeler State Park in northwest Alabama, under gray skies.
Cabins, pavilions and other structures in Cheaha State Park were built in stone by the Civilian Conservation Corps. Photo credit: David Muenker
Cheaha State Park boasts the highest point in the state of Alabama – an elevation of 2,047 feet. I know that doesn’t sound like much to my friends out West, especially Denver friends who drive that change in elevation every time they go to Lookout Mountain on the edge of the city. But it’s high here! In fact, I feel the effects of the change in altitude each time we come down the mountain.
We would love to spend all our time in the park, and we stocked up on groceries so we could. Unfortunately, for the first time on our travels, the Verizon network has failed us. We can’t get cell phone or wireless service at the park. And we thought that would only be an issue at remote places like Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Utah!
The sunsets and expansive views at Cheaha State Park are stunning. The exquisite stonework architecture of cabins, campground restrooms and other park buildings complements the natural setting. Those structures were built by the Civilian Conservation Corps back in the 1930s.
Visitors can fill their days hiking to waterfalls, soaking in the views, dining at the restaurant and kicking back in the peaceful setting of their cabin or campsite. Even in winter, the park is popular weekend getaway.
We hope your Valentine’s Day has been filled with love and laughter. Ours has had all the perfect ingredients, starting with a bright, sunny day.
We drove an hour south to Dothan, Alabama, to attend a Unity service. (Like the Religious Science path that we follow, Unity is based on New Thought.) As we’ve experienced elsewhere, the community welcomed us with love and friendship. The congregants warmly responded to our sharing that we’re from Denver and our spiritual home is Mile Hi Church. Several people told us about their great experiences either living in or traveling through Colorado. Two had started their New Thought journey at Mile Hi Church. And the minister, Rev. Glenda Davis, was about to catch her flight to Denver for the United Centers for Spiritual Living Gathering at the Colorado Convention Center this week. Talk about a small world!
The first Valentine gift we received was a red rose for each of us — one that will last forever! (i.e. made of synthetic material)– from the Unity service. We treated ourselves to a giant, milk chocolate Hershey’s bar while stocking up with pantry supplies. And we used the rest of a Barnes & Noble gift card to buy The Book of Love, author Kathleen McGowan‘s sequel to her highly evocative novel, The Expected One.
Roses, chocolate, The Book of Love — they made for a truly happy Valentine’s Day!
A Florida family comes to LakePoint Resort State Park to play in the Alabama snow. Photo credit: David Muenker
While David and I were driving around LakePoint Resort State Park to get photos, we saw this young family putting the final touches on a huge snowman. They had driven up from their home in Florida for a weekend of fun in the snow! The unusual sight of seeing snow in Alabama… their daughter’s first romp in snow… staying in a cozy cabin in the woods… sitting around a crackling fire — for them, snow created a magical experience. They’ll treasure it through the years, sharing their memory time and again.
Today is beautiful. Bright sunshine, glistening snow, sparkling ice. Our RV survived the onslaught of wet, heavy snow. A huge thud disrupted our dinner, and set us bounding outside. It was one of those sounds that comes from every direction. Was it under the RV? To the left? To the right? Did a hose burst? A pipe crack? Flashlight in hand, we surveyed the rig under, over and all around. Everything seemed intact.
A tree branch must have crashed to the ground. Everything still looks fine in the daylight. So we can relax today and enjoy the beauty of it all.
Snowman celebrates 5 inches of fresh snow in Lakepoint Resort State Park in southern Alabama. Photo credit: David Muenker
Everyone in Eufaula, Alabama, has been anticipating the snow forecast for today. School was canceled, giving the kids a l-o-n-g Presidents Day Weekend. Eufaula hasn’t seen snow since the mid-90s. We’re supposed to get 5 inches of the wet stuff.
And wet it is! Great for making snowmen, which I did this morning. Amazing the things I managed to find in the RV to dress him up! Raisins for his buttons, a slice of tomato for his lips, a red paper napkin for his scarf, celery for his nose, and half of a stick-on deodorizer for his hat. The outdoors contributed the rest: asphalt pebbles for his eyes and twigs for his arms.
I wonder what the local alligators think of the unusual weather.
Snow surrounds alligator warning at LakePoint Resort State Park in southeast Alabama. Photo credit: David Muenker
When we hit the road, we intended to stay in mild, temperate climate. Ha! The joke’s on us. We have two electric ceramic heaters running to minimize using the RV furnace, which requires expensive propane. And we’re going to have to sweep the heavy snow off the slide-out awnings to avoid damaging them. (We know from experience what they cost to replace!)
I wonder what the local alligators in LakePoint Resort State Park think of the unusual weather?
Happy angler holds up a 7 pound bass caught during a tournament on Lake Eufaula, AL. Photo credit: David Muenker
Nothing keeps a serious bass angler away from the water – and the chance for big prize winnings. Not rain. And certainly not raw chilly temperatures. The first Saturday of February, more than 100 boats with two anglers each, sped into Lake Eufaula to compete for that day’s bass tournament purse. The ambient temperature was in the low 30s with a stiff wind blowing.
Known as the Bass Fishing Capital of the World, Lake Eufaula is the bass fisherman’s Mecca. Tournaments throughout the year give them countless reasons to haul their sleek bass boats (worth as much as $200,000) to the marina at LakePoint Resort State Park, pay the entry fee, partner up with a stranger (keeps the anglers honest), and fish from safelight (pre-sunrise) until mid-afternoon.
Then they weigh in. Perhaps place. Possibly win some big bucks. And then they release the caught bass, dead or alive, into the lake.
Bass fishing obviously has its rewards. An excuse for another “toy” (rod, boat, etc.). A day on the lake away from it all. Camaraderie. And the sheer joy of reeling in a big one!
Glennville, AL, historic marker describes the town lynch mob's PR savvy. Photo credit: David Muenker
Odd what historians choose to highlight about a place. This historic marker, which stands where the town of Glennville once existed, states:
“Glennville was the home of the only known lynch mob that bought a newspaper advertisement, acknowledged the deed and published their names. The convicted, a murderer, was a member of a prominent Barbour County white family. The incident brought national attention to the town.”
The marker says that the town’s refusal to have a railroad station led to its demise. But I think the lynch mob had more to do with why Glennville didn’t survive. Not too many folks I know would want to live where renegades ruled.
The sunset reflects its beauty on Lake Eufaula in southeast Alabama. Photo credit: David Muenker
The sun set at 5:10 p.m. and the sky turned pitch dark before 5:30 p.m. Had we just time-traveled back to December? We arrived in late January at Lakepoint Resort State Park in southeast Alabama, not at the winter solstice.
It wasn’t until I flipped my phone open that I discovered we had crossed into the Central Time Zone. The early nightfall began to make sense. The time zone line runs along the Alabama-Georgia border and through Florida some 50 miles west of Tallahassee. While we were in Ocala, we were on the western edge of Eastern Time, with the sun rising around 7:30 a.m. and setting after 6 p.m. And now we were on the eastern edge of Central Time, with the sun rising and setting an hour earlier than we had grown accustomed to.
Try to tell our dog, Sonya, that 4 a.m. is too early for her breakfast. (And I thought feeding her at 5 a.m. was early!) Or try to tell my circadian rhythms!
I’m not as resilient as I used to be. But at least I now know what time it is. And I’ll take sunsets like this one any time of day!