Australia Day in Denver

Alice and I were fortunate enough to spend a long weekend in Denver catching up with Kaitlin and Adam. Saturday was Australia Day and we flew in just in time to make our way to the “Great Australian Bight”, an Australian cafe to have lunch with Kate and Adam. We had to indulge in pies, lamingtons, custard tarts, caramel slices and of course Aussie beer!

Nothing like a good meat pie and real Aussie beer!

Afterwards we made our way to the Oxford hotel – started in 1891 and with a great bar that opened the day after the repeal of Prohibition in 1933. We enjoyed chilling in the lounge, particularly when they had the Bourbon tasting in the evenings.

On Monday we had planned to see my new vehicle and then go to the school where Kate teaches kindergarten, but a much larger snow storm than expected changed our plans. We still managed to make it to the school later that day and Alice had lots of fun telling the students about Hawaii, reading a book, delivering snacks and teaching them how to hula dance.

Yes, that’s hula dancing…

Fortunately we stayed over another day and with the snow finished and the sun shining, we made our way to Left Hand Utes to check on progress with the Holden Ute I bought in Melbourne and had shipped over for conversion to left hand drive and compliance with US regulations. This is quite an involved process that utilizes a US-compliant donor vehicle for the components – in our case a police pursuit vehicle from Louisville CO what had been crashed and written off by the police.

The Ute with engine, transmission etc all stripped out
All that remains of the donor vehicle after stripping it
Engine and transmission almost ready to be installed in the Ute
Ute interior still in right hand drive, but not for long…
Prep work done to remove left hand drive components from donor vehicle

I’m very excited by the work being done on my new Ute, and it seemed appropriate that we were looking at the progress so close to Australia Day. We’ll now start making arrangements for picking it up and driving it back to Seattle after we come back from our trip to Costa Rica, Panama and Barbados in early April – it should be very fun!

Mele Kalikimaka is the thing…

This Christmas we spent a couple of weeks in our Hawaii property enjoying the sun, sea and most importantly Kaitlin and Adam and Luke. Unfortunately we missed Grant who is currently deployed but he was certainly in our thoughts and we felt his spirit was with us.

The first of many sunsets to be enjoyed from our back yard

Of course when our wonderful children showed up at the airport, Alice was there to greet them in her usual regalia.

We spent a lot of time in and around the pool, but still managed to have many adventures.

Water played a large part in our fun times of course.

Ready to head out on the outrigger canoe from King Kamehemea’s bay.

We saw a lot of wildlife including many dolphins, which were very cool and put on quite a show for us.

We were also fortunate to see a few whales from a distance, including from our back yard.

Kayaking was also among our favorite early-morning activities.

We also had to try our hand at surfing, although it seemed I was more “wipe-out” than “hang-ten” although both Luke and Adam managed to get up a few times.

On Christmas eve we continued a tradition of eating out at a restaurant. This year we went to Jackie Rey’s Ohana Grill – which seemed appropriate as Ohana is Hawaiian for family.

Our family with the Hawaiian King Kamehameha and Queen in the background

We also went for a great helicopter ride over the Kilauea volcano – it is now much larger than when we took the same ride in February.

The devastation from the lava flows is very evident
Back from a wonderful sightseeing trip
Uncle Ski conducting a traditional Hawaiian house blessing

We followed the blessing with awa drinking, but of course making sure we first gave the spirits some.

It was a truly great time for us and we were all sad to depart our Hawaiian home. But we know we will return – Alice and I will move over in October and we’ve already decided our new tradition will be Christmas in Kona.

For now, we move on and Hau’oli Makahiki Hou to everyone!