Thursday, July 6, 2017

First Vacation in Almost 3 Years

Never again will I go this long without taking real time off with the family to have fun and reflect. It was way too long and the stress that built up over that time became "normal" and that's not good. Everyone needs down time from everything. Down time from "training", down time from work and just plain old down time from the day to day grind that can be living at home.

Mary and I headed to Oahu, Hawaii to visit our USMC son Marco. It was so good to see him, it's hard to put into words. For the last year when I felt like I was having a tough day I tried to remember that my days are not tough. A tough day is being a US Marine Infantryman. PT is at 05:30 and then the training get's hard. Most days finish at 19:00 but there are times like an upcoming training block that will be 24 hours a day for 6 weeks. No bed, no showers and average of 3 hours of sleep a night.

Back to the vacation. I generally don't run or do much of any typical exercise when we vacation. The main reason is we walk almost everywhere. For instance on the 4th of July we walked 10 miles with 2 of those miles in deep sand on the beach. I do have one rule especially if vacation is on a tropical island. I must get wet every day. The only reason I'll usually run is if one or both family members runs with me.

We stayed in Kailua, Oahu and there are some similarities with Kailua, Kona. There is one main road along the beach that stretches for miles. This was our run course for our family run the day after we arrived. It always feels great to feel that Hawaiian heat building on your body as you run. You sweat so much trying to cool your body down and it's really difficult. As you can tell we had a great run. 

 Cockroach Cove

 Cockroach Cove

Cockroach Cove

 North Shore

The best day by far and the best 4th of July we've ever been a part of was Tuesday. We started day with the parade. There probably isn't a better parade on 4th of July than one in a military town. It was really fun. Then we went to the best beach in Oahu which was only 4 blocks from our house. Kailua Beach is a must see if you have time. White sand, warm water and not the crazy crowds and traffic of Waikiki. At 6 or 18:00 we were back at the beach for the fireworks celebration. We knew the Marine Corps Band was playing and wanted to see them. What they showed us was the best part of the entire day. It was a 7 member jazz band, dressed in full Marine dress walking down the beach playing their music. Think Mardi Gras Jazz band on the beach. They were outstanding and having a blast. The beach is narrow and it was packed with spectators. The band came down the beach in the white water of the waves. So much fun. 

The sad part of the 4th was at the end after the fireworks show. We had to drop our son off on base and say goodbye. He had to work a 06:00 to 06:00 duty shift. 

Mary and I went hiking on the 5th. We hiked up to Maunawili Falls. The maps said "Easy Hike" and advertised 1.5 miles. I didn't wear my GPS but it sure seemed longer than 1.5 miles and if this is what Hawaii calls easy I'd love to do one that was difficult. The falls were not the big falls you typically see on Hawaii promo videos. They were decent size but not the big ones. What made them fun was jumping off the rock face into the pool below the falls. There were two jumping off points. One was 10ft and the other 15ft over an outcropping on the rock face. Really fun and the water was really refreshing after the hike. 

No, Mary didn't hike barefoot. She took her shoes off to cross the river. I of course didn't care about my shoes so I just went right through. No harm done to the shoes or my feet. 

A great 5 days with the family. It wasn't all smiles and hugs like most vacations but we sure made it as fun as we possibly could. So good to have the little family together again even it it was for such a short time. 

It's a good life.....

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