Friday, January 25, 2013

Australia/Hawaii 2002, part 14: California

This is the last entry (which I accidentally left sitting in draft for over a year, oops!). My trip report finishes up the last 2 days of the journey but it's all about wedding stuff in California and what we did in the Carmel area. I arranged my 2002 Australia/Hawaii trip around a friend's wedding; coincidentally, in 2011 I would arrange my 10-week trip to Europe around the wedding of another good friend. Trivia and By The Numbers are at the end of this post; no pictures today of the travel prior to the wedding.

Friday, October 4: Oahu to Los Angeles to San Jose to Carmel
Is Richard Simmons a good omen or a bad omen?

Even if everything had gone exactly on time, I still would have only had an hour to get my luggage from one terminal and check in at another. But at 6 a.m. on a Friday morning, how many people can be at the airport?

I managed to catch somewhere around 3 of hours of sleep on the plane. I practically flew out the door where the Continental flight arrived after I got my luggage, and was lucky that the shuttle bus was right there. And fortunately I didn't have to wait very long to get to the next stop, but it still took time. It was there that I found myself in line at Southwest at 5:50 a.m. asking the gate agent if there was enough time for me to make the 6:05. I got an "are you serious?" look but he said he'd do his best to help me, then he slapped a "late" tag on the bags. Just in case I didn't make it, I had already made a backup plan. Vanessa was driving in from San Francisco to San Jose to pick me up around 7:30, and I'd call her if I didn't make my flight. The next one was only an hour later, so we still had plenty of time to get to Carmel by 3 pm.

Australia/Hawaii 2002, part 13: Oahu (day 3)

I mention below that one of the graves I sought out at the Punchbowl was that of Space Shuttle Challenger astronaut Ellison Onizuka. In 2011, ten years later, I got the opportunity to meet his widow Lorna at a NASA function, and told her how much his death affected me as an aerospace engineering student at the time, how it inspired me even more to get into the job that (as it turned out) I loved, and that it was out of respect for all that that I visited his grave. She was very touched and thanked me for thinking of him like that and for telling her that story. Today's pictures are here.

(Turns out this post has been in draft for over a year, I thought I published them all. Oops.)
Thursday, October 3: Oahu
I can see for miles and miles

Like all "last days" somewhere, this was the day to think about doing all the stuff I didn't have time for – I wanted to go up to the top of Diamondhead, go snorkeling in Hanauma Bay (both off to the east), go up to the Punchbowl and maybe do some shopping (both off to the west). As usual, I didn't get to do all of that. I quickly decided to blow off shopping and reluctantly pushed snorkeling to the bottom of the list. Yeah, it would have been cool, but I had just gone scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef and anything else would have been anticlimactic. So with just Diamondhead and the Punchbowl left on the list, I could be somewhat leisurely.