Author Archive - Doug Lund

Illuminating The Christmas Spirit

Posted: Tuesday, December 3, 2013 at 11:58 am
By: Doug Lund
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Tried to jump start my Christmas Spirit last night by taking my bride for a ride to check out the lights; especially those at Falls Park.  I know Mayor Dave Munson took a lot of heat for his persistence in developing the Phillips to the Falls project but, honestly, as one who remembers when that area was nothing but a thicket with greasy old buildings surrounding our still impressive but much neglected Big Sioux River Falls, to see its transformation is pure joy and worth every penny spent on rehabbing the area.

Keloland Photo

Keloland Photo

It is wonder to behold any time of year but especially around Christmas when the park trees are aglow with tens of thousands of bluish white lights while many of the conifers are illuminated in red or green. As Linda and I, along with hundreds of others, drove slowly through this glittering wonderland, we both said simultaneously, “classy.”

Oh, I’m sure there are those who grumble about how that money could have gone for more practical things like cutting taxes or upgrading sewer pipes.. something less flashy. But, I for one am proud that my town has not always pursued the strictly sensible approach to things. The Washington Pavilion, for example. Oh, man I remember reporting so many news stories about the heated battles between those for and against the Pavilion/Convention center projects yet when they were finally completed, one couldn’t help but be in awe at the beauty of the place..especially the Great Hall. Not only was it a sight to behold but it didn’t take long for audiences and performers to truly appreciate the acoustical quality of the room be they for theatrical or musical performances. It was so cool to have an I-Max theater, science center, and art galleries right there downtown. Not to mention, a brand new convention center cleverly attached to the Arena with banquet facilities and adequate room to finally accommodate large groups that had before passed the city by.  I know they’re not big money makers but, like Falls Park, I’m glad they are there.  I don’t use the bike trail or visit the zoo or most city parks very often but I’m glad they’re here. I don’t ski or snowboard but I’m glad for Great Bear.

Maybe I’ll even say that about the new Events Center some day. But, for now, that thing makes about as much sense to me as those big cement ball planters scattered around downtown Sioux Falls.

See, there I go. Just when I thought I’d been dumbstruck into seasonal serenity.

Thanksgiving 2013

Posted: Saturday, November 23, 2013 at 10:20 am
By: Doug Lund
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thanksgiving turkey cover

 

It’s been a few years since the Lund’s have come up on the family rotation list to host Thanksgiving but it is our turn this year and we’re actually looking forward to it. I am, anyway because I’m not the one who does the serious indoor house chores from the floors, bathrooms and dusting to the tedious task of  cleaning the mini-blinds one mini-blind at a time.  Now, I can hear some of you saying, you could help Linda with the housework, ya big oaf. Well, I have offered..sort of. The thing is, when she goes into deep cleaning mode, our house becomes a bit like a CSI crime scene and I am truly not qualified to lift up the yellow tape and go schlumping around disturbing things. My job is to do the grocery shopping, help cook and serve the Thanksgiving meal and lead the prayer before we eat. She’s happy..I’m happy and, yes, I know, very lucky.

I’m also happy about the deal I got at HyVee; buy a ham at the regular price, get a turkey FREE.  That was over a week ago and I’ve been back to the store a couple of times and a couple hundred dollars since and see the special is still going on with lots of hams and turkeys spotted in people’s grocery carts. Now, most of those turkeys were in the 10 to 12 pound range but I managed to sweet talk the butcher into checking his  freezer in the back for the biggest bird he could find and, sure enough, he came out with  a 14 pounder which is the maximum weight allowed to qualify for the deal. Now, that along with the 8 pound ham, should be enough meat to satisfy the carnivores in our group although we do have three college-age grandsons with the appetites of lumberjacks but the metabolism of hummingbirds so their stomachs are like washboards.

There will be all the traditional foods for our feast and a couple extra features that have become a tradition over the years; our daughter Patty’s veggie casserole, Doug’s escalloped corn, Linda’s wild rice stuffing and, of course, lefse. (Usually store-bought at the last minute in hopes it will be the freshest.)

The last time we hosted the holiday, I bought a 25 pound frozen turkey and, according to instructions, put it in the refrigerator to thaw three days prior to cooking. Well, it was still hard as as a carp on Thanksgiving Eve so Linda and I spent forever taking turns messaging that dadgum carcass under warm water in the kitchen sink  until we finally were able to pull the giblets package out and feel confident we wouldn’t  wind up having to take everybody out for Chinese turkey. Fa Ra Ra Ra Ra Ra.

thanksgiving rockwell

I also learned a long time ago that with a large group of people the Norman Rockwell idealistic view of Thanksgiving dinner with gramma presenting the beautiful browned bird to grampa at the table for carving..just isn’t practical. Unless the old guy is Crocodile Dundee or runs a deli, that bird is going to be ice cold by the time everybody gets a desired slice.  I tried it once and it didn’t take long for my efforts to go from encouragement by family members to muffled snickers to uncontrolled laughter. If you, like me, dread the turkey carving part, try checking youtube on the interweb. There are lots and lots of easy to follow demonstrations. Worked for me last time resulting in less mess, more satisfied customers and more intact leftovers.

So, no carving at the table. In fact, we’ve given in to convenience and serve up our entire Thanksgiving meal cafeteria style just like  a pot luck church picnic. Sure, by the time the last one’s through the line..the first ones are ready for seconds but it’s just the way we roll.

Linda’s mother, Mary, who passed away a year ago last July, was never a big fan of Smorgasbords; much preferring everybody all sit together  at once but as the family grew she realized that wasn’t practical or possible. Part of her compromise, though, was dessert. Mary always provided the most wonderful pies for the feast; Apple and cherry were her specialty but any fruit filling became irresistible with her magic touch and nestled inside those delicious homemade flaky brown crusts. But at both Thanksgiving and Christmas, Mary would hold those pies hostage.  No wolfing down a big dinner, inhaling dessert then going off to watch TV and falling asleep with your mouth open occasionally waking yourself up with a loud snort and then going home. No sir!  She would decide when to release the pies, wanting everyone to at least share that part of the meal together.  I think she also loved to hear the waves of complements coming in unison from all around the house about how terrific they tasted and how relieved they were to finally have at them.

Linda is making a couple pies this year; lemon and chocolate. Others will bring pumpkin but I doubt anybody in the family will attempt apple or cherry. That’s a pretty hard act to follow. I also doubt if we’ll insist that people wait.

I’m not too sure about the quality of the free turkey I got. I did ask the HyVee guy if I should be concerned about “getting what I paid for” but he said he’s had this brand before and couldn’t tell much, if any, difference.  I said, “Put enough turkey gravy on anything and it’ll taste good right?”  Ha, ha ha.

Linda assures me that the bird is thawing nicely and there will be no need for late night warm water baths this year. As for preparation; no brining, no deep fat frying, nothing odd and unusual at our house; just remember to take out the bag of innards (giblets) place him on a rack in a covered roasting pan for the recommended time and let it rest for a while after taking it out of the oven.  Just remember that rare may be fine in steak but not turkey  so I probably tend to over cook the thing but, like I said, gravy covers a lot of sins.

Linda and I send best wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving from our little house to yours.

Can You Handle The Truth About Dallas?

Posted: Monday, November 11, 2013 at 7:16 pm
By: Doug Lund
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When news came out about these two Miami Dolphin linemen suddenly out of pro football..one quitting because his teammate kept bullying and threatening him, the other kicked out of the league for doing the bullying and threatening, brought to mind a similar story about a high school classmate of mine; Gene Vostad.  Gene was a great football player and when he graduated college he got a tryout with the Minnesota Vikings playing center. The story goes that when taking the hike, quarterback, Gary Cuozzo would slam his hands up into Gene’s groinal area with such force it was beyond the protection of any cup.  After a while of enduring this painful indignation, according to what we heard, Gene said that’s enough..turned around, cold cocked Cuozzo and left the field.

I thought, in light of what happened between Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin, this would be an interesting tale of hazing to tell from a personal point of view. So I called Gene, who I haven’t talked to in a long time, for his permission to blog about it. “Well, no Doug” he said. “Because it’s not true. That rumor has been going around for years but there’s not a lick of truth to it. I have no idea how it started. I didn’t care for Cuozzo all that much but never touched the guy.”

I should have known better. Gene is a gentle giant..tough as nails, a Vietnam veteran and an Army reserve Colonel but he’d never take a cheap shot.

jfk-dallasjpg-e35caaa5f457017c

Speaking of separating truth from rumor, from now through the end of the month we are going to be inundated with accounts of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination which occurred in Dallas, Texas fifty years ago; on November 22nd 1963. In fact the TV specials have already begun with Rob Lowe starring as Kennedy on the History Channel movie depiction of Bill O’Reilly’s book, “Killing Kennedy” and a two part JFK profile runs this week on PBS. I’m looking forward to seeing some of them…absolutely dreading others because I know a few just won’t be able to contain themselves and be digging up tired old conspiracy theories that seem designed to whip the conspiracy nut jobs into a frenzy. Oh, oh…did I hit a nerve?

Are you one of the 56% of Americans who still believe that Lee Harvey Oswald had lots of help pulling off the murder of our president..maybe from Russia, or Cuba, the mob, Lyndon Johnson or some other far fetched conspirator?  What part of the Warren Commission report do you take issue with? The magic bullet, the missing bullet, the pristine bullet..the angle of the bullet..Oswald’s marksmanship, Oswald’s ability to fire the shots in such short time, Kennedy’s head went back after being hit?

If you saw Oliver Stone’s movie JFK in which he made a hero out of the embarrassingly inept prosecutor, Jim Garrison, you saw the truth twisted  by Stone that went way beyond dramatic license. Kevin Costner’s portrayal of Garrison was such that the end result of the film was a noticeable shift in the public’s view of the assassination and renewed suspicion that our government wasn’t telling us all the facts about it.

Ten years ago, on the 40th anniversary of Kennedy’s assassination, ABC did, what I believe to be the most exhaustive and very best examination of Oswald, the conspiracy questions and the shameful presentation by Oliver Stone.
Ten years ago, as many 80 percent of Americans did not believe Oswald acted alone. Since then, as more people have seen honest undeniable factual reports such as ABC’s “Beyond Conspiracy” in 2003, the number of doubters, according to a recent AP poll, is down to 56 percent. So there’s still a good chance more than half of you think I have my head up my posterior.

Judging from the number of comments I’m getting lately, there aren’t that many who give a rip one way or another but I’m going to keep writing anyhow.

I would ask, though, that you take some time  to watch this program. Believe me, I had lots of questions, myself about the assassination too and no, I wasn’t swayed by the dramatic music in the presentation or the convincing voice of the late Peter Jennings.

It’s just that sometimes the truth isn’t as dramatic as Oliver Stone or any of the other conspiracy nuts would have you believe it is.

YouTube Preview Image

WEATHER: You Like It Or Not

Posted: Wednesday, November 6, 2013 at 4:00 pm
By: Doug Lund
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weather team

I posted a comment on Facebook  the other day when the snow was coming down so heavy it looked like we’d be buried in it up to our armpits till April. I said “well, this will likely solve my problem of trying to find somebody to trim my trees and rake the leaves until spring” to which my friend and Keloland chief meteorologist, Jay Trobec, replied, “sorry Doug the snow will end tonight and be all gone by the weekend.”  Jay’s comment was followed by a few others Facebook friends who say Trobec is wrong half the time. Another said he gets into a panic over a 20 mile an hour wind….neither of which is true.  In fact, as Jay predicted, the sun came out and the snow has melted..mostly.. and I’m back to searching the yellow pages for lawn care guys.

The truth is the science of weather forecasting..especially at Keloland Television.. is as accurate as it has been EVER. Here’s what Science Daily says about the profession in general:

 Every day, weather forecasters are put to the test for accurate daily predictions. It’s a hard job that gets blamed for rained-out picnics, canceled barbecues and delayed planes; but today, our forecasts are more accurate than any other time in history.

We rely on our meteorologists to help plan our lives, but one wrong forecast and local meteorologists are the first to get blamed. Predicting the weather isn’t easy, but despite a few missed temperatures, weather forecasting has actually made huge improvements in the last 20 years. “Our forecasts, on average for large storms, were about 90 percent accurate,” Douglas Young, a meteorologist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Washington, D.C. said.

In 1996 when Young Broadcasting bought Keloland TV, the decision was made to make weather a top priority. Our on-air forecasters would have to have or get meteorologist degrees. (No more Doug Lund subbing on the noon show weather.) We would be building our own live Doppler radar stations and dedicate a third of our studio to weather monitors, computers and other high tech equipment. Remember all those Live Doppler 2000 commercials that ran night and day? Jay Trobec (who now has a Phd) was joined by Scot Mundt and Brian Karstens both meteorologists and skilled broadcasters. Together they make for the most experienced, highest skilled and best equipped  weather guys in the business, scientists really, working in one of the most vol ital parts of the country for severe weather where getting the forecast right is not only crucial..it’s a matter of pride.

They’re also Keloland TV’s highest profile nerds.

Believe me when I tell you that’s  a term of endearment. These guys are the first to admit that even though they all have families, weather pretty much rules their lives. When they’re not putting together their weather shows and reporting on air, they’re planning ahead for the next day..glued to their smart phone and I pad weather apps even on their days off.

So, yeah, I get a little miffed when so many seem to get distracted from what Jay is actually saying about the weather by the enthusiastic manner in which he says it.

I’m not knocking the other meteorologists in town, Phil is a pal and excellent. But  the numbers show that in times of severe weather, folks  switch over to our guys..whether Jay annoys them or not.   Oh, and nobody, especially Trobec, asked me to write this.

I know some of you are still convinced that weather forecasting is still a craps shoot so let’s try a little experiment.  Let me invite you to keep a month long diary for where you live. Keep track of Jay’s six or ten o’clock forecasts. Write down the predicted highs and lows along with projections of clear, partly cloudy or cloudy skies and precipitation. Allow five degrees either way on temps. (Or you can just follow along in the weather archives here on Keloland.com)

Now be fair about it and remember that nobody’s perfect.

Allow me to brag for a moment here on Ashlee Lund. She’s the daughter of my cousin, Mike and his wife Pat. Ashlee got the mountain climbing bug while touring Europe with a group of young people when she was 17. Since then, Ashlee has climbed every major peak in the Rockies. Then about a year and a half ago she heard about an opportunity to tackle Mount Everest. Okay, not scale the mountain itself but climb all the way to base camp..the next best thing to attempting a summit.  Ashlee has been training like mad ever since and last month it was off to Nepal and the Himalayas. She was in e-contact along the way and reports that she nearly gave up more than once but pressed on finally arriving at over 18 thousand feet..exhausted but smiling.   I wish I had a tenth of her energy and desire.

Ashlee and me when she was 12 and I spoke to her school class in Brookings ..1994.

Ashlee and me when she was 12 and I spoke to her school class in Brookings ..1994.

 

Ashlee at the Base Camp of Everest. That's Everest over her right shoulder..the dark peak in back.

Ashlee at the Base Camp of Everest. That’s Everest over her right shoulder..the dark peak in back.

A Halloween Confession

Posted: Monday, October 28, 2013 at 9:42 pm
By: Doug Lund
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From the L@L file 10/31/09

From the L@L file 10/31/09

I certainly hope the statute of limitations applies here because I’m about to confess to a crime from my youth that continues to haunt me more than any ghost or goblin ever could this time of year.
I’m pretty sure it was in the fall of 1959 because I had reached that awkward age of 13 which meant I was too old to go trick or treating. That was the first of many lessons I would learn in my lifetime that getting older wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be.
Anyway, my farm cousin was in town and he was none too pleased either about being shut off from the joys of going door to door extorting candy. So we conjured up a plan to hit the streets and wreak havoc around town. If we can’t have treats..we said…we’re going to pull a few Halloween tricks.  Well, our bravado was strong until I sneaked up to a neighbor’s shed in the alley. There were some boards stacked up against the building and a step ladder leaning against it. My plan was to carry them off and dump ‘em in a neighbor’s yard. That first foray into vandalism had my heart racing so fast I nearly fainted. I managed to toss a couple boards onto a nearby lawn and knock the ladder down when the back porch light came on and we exploded into a dead run fully expecting a load of buckshot in our backsides.
Then, just as quickly as it came, the terror left and we proceeded to work our way downtown to see if we could gang up with other pubescent teens roving the streets looking to make trouble.  Sure enough, there were about 10 kids hanging out in front of the drug store and even though most of them were older, we were invited to tag along on their mission of mayhem.
Anything that wasn’t fastened down or locked up was fair game to be tossed onto Kasan Avenue..our main street. It was littered for three blocks with garbage barrels, lawn chairs, bicycles, flower pots and firewood. Every time we’d see the town cop, Ferman Feeney, we’d take off running in different directions only to rendezvous back at the drug store..act as if nothing had happened and plan another raid.  Earlier, one of the guys  put a bag of poop on the front step of Mr. Holtz..the high school agriculture teacher..set it on fire, knocked on the door. We all ran like hell hoping to see him stomp out the flame and get feces on his shoe. Mr. Holtz, however, had obviously seen that prank before and just let the bag burn. He knew who the likely suspects were and would exact his revenge when he had them in study hall the next day. (Ferman Feeney eventually got tired of being outsmarted and out run by us rotten hooligans so he started deputizing members of the local Jaycee chapter on Halloween night which dramatically reduced the crime rate.)
Being part of a gang of vandals was pretty cool, but you can only tip over so many back alley burn barrels before it gets sort of boring. That’s when we spotted Pete driving up the street in his ’49 Studebaker.
Pete lived on a farm west of town. He was three years older than us but we’d known each other all our lives so when we hollered for him to stop..he did and we piled in.
We couldn’t wait to tell him about all the evil activities we’d been up to..littering the streets, soaping windows and dodging Feeney.
Pete just laughed and shook his head. “That’s nothing.”  “When I was your age, we used to go around the country on Halloween night tipping over outhouses.”  “Now that’ll put the fear of god into ya.” He said
Whoa..that’s big time vandalism compared to our little petty offenses.
“Yeah,” I said, “ too bad nobody has outdoor cans anymore. That’d be fun.”
“Oh, there are still a few around,” Pete said, “but most of ‘em are outta town. You wanna check ‘em out?”
My mind said, good grief NO..what if we got caught? This is reform school stuff.But instead I blurted out, “heck yeah.” And we headed toward the country school just down the road from my cousin’s place.
We drove by slowly on the gravel road making sure there was nobody behind the school building guarding the biffy.
“We gotta be careful,” Pete said. “I’ve heard of people moving the privy a few feet off the hole so if a vandal approached with intentions of tipping it, he’d fall right into the pit. That’d be tough to explain to mom on wash day.”
Pete pulled his Studebaker into the driveway, shut off the lights and whispered..let’s go.
I have never been as excited and afraid at the same time as I was at that moment. We crouched down as if sneaking up on a German machine gun nest. Then Pete said, “On three…one, two, three…we all gave a mighty shove and over she went with a thud.
The dirty deed done, we flew back to the car and sped off in a cloud of dust.
The next day I was sick to my stomach at the thought of somebody having to clean up the mess we caused.
All those hours sitting in church and Sunday school..wasted.
All the hopes and dreams my parents had for their son to be a “good boy” ..dashed.
I wish now, I’d have summoned up the courage to confess my crimes right there and then..but I didn’t, of course..and it’s pretty late now. Perhaps 50 years of guilt and shame I feel each Halloween is punishment enough.

Oh, for a little post-Halloween fun..come join us at the Downtown Holiday Inn Friday night in Sioux Falls as Mogen’s Heroes celebrates 35 years of making music. Lots of your favorite songs, singers and players will be stopping by and a donation helps my favorite charity the Salvation Army. Hope to see you there!

mogen poster

Halloween Treats

Posted: Saturday, October 26, 2013 at 11:11 am
By: Doug Lund
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Lund at Large Oct. 31st. 2008

Halloween was always fun and exciting for me as a kid..well, except for that one year where some do-gooder in the church convinced my and most every other child’s parents that instead of going door to door trying to extort as much candy as possible, we should trick or treat for UNICEF.

Thankfully, that only lasted one season. Our hearts weren’t in it. We were selfish and wanted candy..the good stuff. There were no mini Snickers or Milky Way’s back then. Some places, like Doc Peeke and my aunt Leila passed out the full size nickel candy bars on Halloween. They really had to stock up because every kid in town knew it and gravitated to those houses like honey bees to the queen.

There were some things that no kid really liked. Cookies, for example, who the heck wants a crumby crumbly home-made cookie floating around in your pillow case which served as a sack to haul our haul.  Apples…nobody really wanted them either. Most of us had eaten our fill of green apples plucked from backyard trees on regular night patrols in which all we carried was an appetite and a shaker of salt. People who thought kids wanted apples or some other healthy fruit instead of candy on Halloween usually wound up having to clean streaks from their windows the next morning. Streaks that had been put their by disgruntled trick or treaters who carried a bar of soap in that pillow case too.

There was an exception to the no apple rule, though. A couple people in town gave out caramel apples. They were great but you had to get to those houses early because supplies were limited. And, when they ran out their back-up was usually a little box of Sunkist raisins or a handful of unsalted peanuts in the shell. Caramel apples were also one of those treats that needed to be eaten right away because that little paper muffin-tin liner stuck to the top wasn’t enough to keep other sweet things in your bag..like candy corn..from clinging to the caramel.

Kids no longer have to worry about getting apples or cookies or anything else that isn’t prepackaged on Halloween. Some sicko in some other state brought that to a screeching halt by sticking needles or razor blades in them. Maybe it was all a rumor started by apple hating trick or treaters.

We weren’t big on costumes as kids. Very few of wore anything bought from a store. There were a lot of hobos and whiskered animals but that’s about it. I can still remember the smell of burnt cork that mom used to smudge up my face so I could look like the bum my old man often said I was.

Sadly, all of us eventually get too old to go trick or treating on Halloween night. But, you know, I’ve discovered that it has almost been as much fun over the years tagging along my own children and grandchildren on that special night.

Almost.

HomeSick

Posted: Monday, October 21, 2013 at 10:54 am
By: Doug Lund
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It was so nice to see Keloland’s Perry Groten along with assignment editor, Dexter Gronseth, on photographer duty, out to meet Linda and me at the airport upon our arrival home from Hawaii late Friday afternoon. I was only a little disappointed to learn that they weren’t actually there to put us on the news but to chronicle the annual invasion of pheasant hunters flying in from all over the country for the Saturday opener.

Our nine days in the tropical sunshine were great but, even though the cold air was a shock to the system, it’s nice to be home. Unfortunately, home is where Linda and I have both been confined to ever since we got back. No sooner did we get in the house than Linda noticed her head was still plugged as if her body’s automatic air pressure sensor had malfunctioned upon final descent into Sioux Falls. Her ears never popped and her nose began running. “I’m layin’ down,” she said. “The unpacking can wait until tomorrow.” “ I don’t feel so great myself,” said I with a cough that came from my toe nails.  I haven’t stopped coughing since and now my rib cage feels so sore its like having gone 12 rounds with Muhammad Ali.

So, now it is Monday morning and both Linda and I are just starting to feel well enough to try figure out where, when and how we were both blindsided by a bug that got into our systems and simultaneously caused separate but serious cold symptoms to attack with such severity.  This has happened before after long hours of travel involving the tight quarters of fuselages and confined airport gate areas but never to this degree. Perhaps too, it’s Norwegian karma. Every action (yah, sure you tink you’re so great gettin’ to go to Hawaii) there’s an equal opposite reaction. (You’re both gonna get so sick you’ll be stuck in bed while you run out of cough drops, Vicks, Tussin, Kleenex and underwear.)   

At any rate..in the words of Scarlett O’hara, “Tomorrow’s another day.”  So, as promised, and, apparently, at great personal health risk, I’m including a final round of photos from our fabulous Keloland TV/ Holiday Vacations three island tour of Hawaii.  Below is a shot of our Niece, Kimberly who, along with husband, Ryan and kids Toren, Kaia and Kekoa came from their home on Oahu to join us at our hotel for a fun evening of conversation, swimming and dining.

was so great having my niece, Kim..her husband Ryan and their three delightful kids, Toren, Kaia and Kekoa come to our hotel from their home on Oahu for a swim, dinner and visit.

kim and kids

Kaia and Toren enjoy a swim in the hotel pool.

Kaia and Toren enjoy a swim in the hotel pool.

 

Maui is still Linda and my favorite Isle.

Maui is still Linda and my favorite Isle.

Not to be missed on Maui; the Iao Valley State Park which includes the Iao Needle a 12 hundred foot moss covered stone spire that rises from the canyon floor.

Not to be missed on Maui; the Iao Valley State Park which includes the Iao Needle a 12 hundred foot moss covered stone spire that rises from the canyon floor.

A few of the girls on tour.

A few of the girls on tour.

The sun actually ducked under the clouds for a few minutes during our visit to the Maui Ocean Center overlooking Ma'alaea Bay before heading to our hotel.

The sun actually ducked under the clouds for a few minutes during our visit to the Maui Ocean Center overlooking Ma’alaea Bay before heading to our hotel.

Hawaiii 2013 #1 145

This is our view from the restaurant for breakfast. It's open air with swans in the foreground and the Pacific in the background.

This is our view from the restaurant for breakfast. It’s open air with swans in the foreground and the Pacific in the background.

Sparrows, too, have the freedom to fly in and feed off the vacated tables before being shooed away by the staff. There is clearly and quite literally a "pecking order" among the birds. I was curious how they were trained not to poop all over the place but forgot to ask. There were no tell-tale white spots anywhere but that's when I noticed Linda's coffee had creamer in it and she always takes her coffee black. (kidding)

Sparrows, too, have the freedom to fly in and feed off the vacated tables before being shooed away by the staff. There is clearly and quite literally a “pecking order” among the birds. I was curious how they were trained not to poop all over the place but forgot to ask. There were no tell-tale white spots anywhere but that’s when I noticed Linda’s coffee had creamer in it and she always takes her coffee black. (kidding)

Speaking of wild Hawaiian creatures, these guys are everywhere. They were once beloved but are now just annoying because they're constantly asking tourists about saving money on car insurance.

Speaking of wild Hawaiian creatures, these guys are everywhere. They were once beloved but are now just annoying because they’re constantly asking tourists about saving money on car insurance.

I wasted quite a bit of time trying to get Shreck, here, to talk or whistle as advertised on the lobby sign but he would only look pretty and prune himself.

I wasted quite a bit of time trying to get Shreck, here, to talk or whistle as advertised on the lobby sign but he would only look pretty and prune (preen) himself.

As I'm trying to get Shreck to speak, a few feet away, Linda is taking in the incredible view.

As I’m trying to get Shreck to speak, a few feet away, Linda is taking in the incredible view.

Of course no Hawaiian Holiday would be complete without a Luau and ours, right at the hotel, was spectacular.

Of course no Hawaiian Holiday would be complete without a Luau and ours, right at the hotel, was spectacular.

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Now… instead of salt water, it’s the aroma of Vicks Vapo Rub wafting up my nose.

But, you know, if I close my eyes I can still see those amazing sunsets, hear the gentle waves unfold onto the sandy shore and feel the warm  breeze brushing against my  face.

Aloha and Ma halo.

 

Hawaii Part Deux

Posted: Monday, October 14, 2013 at 10:26 pm
By: Doug Lund
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Having trouble getting and staying on-line here at our fabulous hotel resort on the Island of Kauai so while I have the chance I’m going to include some pictures with captions as quickly as possible especially for the families of the folks traveling with us who want to see just what mom and dad are spending the kid’s inheritance  money on.  Let me just say that Kauai appears to be a work in progress. A hurricane slammed the island in 1992 and nearly leveled the place which killed tourism. On top of losing the sugar industry a few years before that, it’s been a tough go. But Kauai has been making a determined comeback and the future looks bright.

Our first stop touring Kauai was the plantation of a former sugar baron.

Our first stop touring Kauai was the plantation of a former sugar baron.

 

Then on to Waimea Canyon. Absolutely stunning.

Then on to Waimea Canyon. Absolutely stunning.

 

It's known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. Pictures just don't do it justice. No govt. shutdown here.

It’s known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. Pictures just don’t do it justice. No govt. shutdown here.

 

There was a little fruit stand at the canyon where I bought some fresh pine apple. Oooh it's sooo good.

There was a little fruit stand at the canyon where I bought some fresh pine apple. Oooh it’s sooo good.

 

Then it's on to the Kauai Coffee Plantation for a tour and tasting.

Then it’s on to the Kauai Coffee Plantation for a tour and tasting.

 

 

Cora Jones has made her coffee selection to take home.

Cora Jones has made her coffee selection to take home.

Outside the visitor center tourists are invited to sign the plants.

Outside the visitor center tourists are invited to sign the plants.

Our digs for two nights; the Kuaui Beach Resort. This was our room view.

Our digs for two nights; the Kuaui Beach Resort. This was our room view.

The Hawaiian people are beautiful inside and out. Easy with smiles and so refreshingly courteous. These two young ladies helped us get checked in.

The Hawaiian people are beautiful inside and out. Easy with smiles and so refreshingly courteous. These two young ladies helped us get checked in.

Linda hunts for shells in the ocean located just a hundred yards or so from our room. We watched surfers on the horizon for a couple hours.

Linda hunts for shells in the ocean located just a hundred yards or so from our room. We watched surfers on the horizon for a couple hours.

One of those young flat bellied surfer boys finally came in and walked by Linda and a couple other ladies from our tour. He said you have a beautiful view from here.

One of those young flat bellied surfer boys finally came in and walked by Linda and a couple other ladies from our tour. He said you have a beautiful view from here.

Linda said under her breath.." in more ways then one, young man.'

Linda said under her breath..” in more ways then one, young man.’

 

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There was a quick downpour that lasted about 15 minutes which is as typical as feral chickens on this little slice of heaven in the Hawaiian chain known as the garden Island.  Now, it’s off to Maui to wrap up our Pacific Holiday. I’ll have part three later in the week with highlights from our Luau and other Polynesian adventures. As always, wish you could be here with us.

Aloha

Aboard The Mighty Mo

Posted: Friday, October 11, 2013 at 5:37 pm
By: Doug Lund
6 Comments | Trackback Bookmark and Share
Obligatory sunset shot at Waikiki just across the street from our hotel

Obligatory sunset shot at Waikiki just across the street from our hotel..darn near missed it.

Can you believe it? Sunshine and low 80’s is the forecast here on Waikiki beach, Honolulu Hawaii today. Jay Trobec might like the climate here but he’d be bored to tears working as a meteorologist in Hawaii. The weather doesn’t change much all year round except for an occasional tsunami warning which would scare the poi out of me. Our 7 hour flight from Denver to Honolulu was uneventful..aside from the fact that even though we’re placed aboard a wide body jet, it’s still tough for this wide bodied passenger to get comfortable in the narrow bodied coach pods..especially when crammed into the center section amid a full compliment of children who weren’t too happy about mom and dad pulling them out of daycare for vacation and felt the rest of us needed to hear them complain for the flight’s duration. I found solace in cranking the headsets up high, consuming a couple Bloody Mary’s, closing my eyes and dreaming of the fun days ahead. We have another fine complement of fellow travelers in our group again..quick to laugh and ready to have a good time.

As mentioned in my last blog, I was a little concerned about reaction to the USS Arizona memorial being closed because of the idiotic government shutdown. But, I need not have been. In fact, our back-up plan, a tour of the USS Battleship Missouri, (which is a privately funded memorial) turned out to be, in my opinion, a preferred option.

Tour members ready to board USS Missouri battleship at Pearl Harbor

Tour members ready to board USS Missouri battleship at Pearl Harbor

 

Tour guide briefing on the USS Missouri's forward deck before the big guns

Tour guide briefing on the USS Missouri’s forward deck before the big guns

No one questions what the Arizona represents. In fact, visitors are reminded again and again that it is a grave yard to over a thousand men whose bodies went down with and still rest aboard the ship which was blasted to bits during the surprise attack by the Japanese at Pearl Harbor on December 7th 1941. The entire visitor’s center as well as the memorial over the Arizona’s still visible resting place are somber places; a reminder of how Americans were caught off guard, defeated and dragged into a war few wanted but had no choice but to enter and win.

The USS Missouri, meanwhile, which didn’t enter service until three years after Pearl Harbor, not only helped bring World War II to end fighting at Iwo Jima and Okinawa, it was chosen as the site where the Japanese would eventually sign the articles of surrender on September 2nd 1945 in Tokyo Harbor.

Linda stands by the big guns on the aft deck near, I believe, the spot where a Japanese Kamikaze pilot crashed into the Missouri's side.  Damage wasn't too severe but you can reportedly still see a dent in the side of her hull.

Linda stands by the big guns on the aft deck near, I believe, the spot where a Japanese Kamikaze pilot crashed into the Missouri’s side. Damage wasn’t too severe but you can reportedly still see a dent in the side of her hull…the ship’s not Linda’s.

Hard to believe how small the Missouri's Veranda deck is where the surrender took place.

Hard to believe how small the Missouri’s Veranda deck is where the surrender took place.

Now, the Missouri, which went on to fight in Korea, Vietnam and Desert Storm, floats proudly at its mooring pier on Pearl Harbor’s Battleship Row; a tourist attraction located just a few hundred yards from the Arizona Memorial. It’s amazing to think that within that short distance you can find the exact spots where America entered World War II and where America and its Allies ended it. One is a place of solemn reflection and reverence, the other is a place of victory over the oppressor, satisfaction and pride.

I don’t mind telling you that standing there on the precise spot of the Missouri’s Veranda deck where the surrender was signed, I got a little choked up with feelings of patriotism and gratitude. I think all of those who are responsible for the current government shutdown should pay a visit to Battleship Row.

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Realizing that the govt. shutdown would disappoint millions of tourists, tour guides of the USS Missouri put together a dramatic presentation of the attack on Pearl Harbor from just off the Missouri's bow with the Arizona's memorial in the background. Linda was the presenter and she held the audience spellbound.

Realizing that the govt. shutdown would disappoint millions of tourists, tour guides of the USS Missouri put together a dramatic presentation of the attack on Pearl Harbor from just off the Missouri’s bow with the Arizona’s memorial in the background. The presenter named Linda gave an amazing presentation leaving the audience spellbound.

 

Because the USS Missouri is moored on Ford Island, tourists have never gotten this perspective of Battleship Row before.

Because the USS Missouri, where I’m taking this photo,  is moored on Ford Island, tourists have never gotten this perspective of Battleship Row before. Easy pickin’s for Japanese torpedo planes. The Arizona memorial is 3rd in line

I was concerned too that we weren’t going to be allowed to go through the National memorial cemetery located in an extinct volcano known as the Punchbowl. But we were fine as long as our bus didn’t stop.

The view of Honolulu from Punchbowl crater.

The view of Honolulu from Punchbowl crater.

 

A little blurry but that larger monument by the tree on the right is for Ernie Pyle the beloved war journalist and illustrator killed just before the war ended on Iwo Jima.

A little blurry but that larger monument by the tree on the right is for Ernie Pyle the beloved war journalist and illustrator killed just before the war ended on Iwo Jima.

 

The national cemetery is for all those who fought in the pacific and their families. It's now full.

The national cemetery is for all those who fought in the pacific and their families. It’s now full.

Our first full day on Oahu was sensory overload. Just too many beautiful things to see, hear, taste and smell. It’s hard not to keep using the word paradise to describe Hawaii  but I will try.  Just go ahead and find your own adjectives to describe some of the images I’ve assembled below.

 

Built in 1926, The Aloha Tower used to be Hawaii's tallest structure. Now it's dwarfed by the high rise hotels and other buildings.

Built in 1926, The Aloha Tower used to be Hawaii’s tallest structure. Now it’s dwarfed by the high rise hotels and other buildings.

 

Along the windward side of Oahu. Screen saver worthy vistas around ever bend.

Along the windward side of Oahu. Screen saver worthy vistas around ever bend.

tatue of King Kamehameha outside the palace. Our guide says the only king left in Hawaii today is Burger King.
Tried to time the blow hole for maximum spurt but it's like leading a duck and was too late or far ahead. You can see a little puff dead center.

Tried to time the blow hole for maximum spurt but it’s like leading a duck and was too late or far ahead. You can see a little puff dead center.

Mush drier on the leeward side. Members of our group head back to the coach and a return to Honolulu.

Mush drier on the leeward side. Members of our group head back to the coach and a return to Honolulu.

 

The view from our hotel is not exactly facing the ocean but you can see it from there.

The view from our hotel is not exactly facing the ocean but you can see it from there.

 

So proud of Linda who is afraid of heights, willing to sit on our balcony. She does need a drink first, though.

So proud of Linda who is afraid of heights, willing to sit on our balcony. She does need a drink first, though.

 

Wonderful Hawaiian music at the hotel. The bass player used to work with Don Ho and the young lady is the granddaughter of one of Hawaii's most famous singers Genoa Keawe.

Wonderful Hawaiian music at the hotel. The bass player used to work with Don Ho and the young lady is the granddaughter of one of Hawaii’s most famous singers Genoa Keawe.

We move on to Kauai in the morning. It promises to be even more lush but especially more quiet. It will be nice to get away from the hubbub and noise of Honolulu.

Aloha.

Aloha

Posted: Tuesday, October 8, 2013 at 2:24 pm
By: Doug Lund
3 Comments | Trackback Bookmark and Share

Like most every American, I’m really ticked off about this federal government shutdown. It’s an embarrassment to the country and an unnecessary hardship on hundreds of thousands..perhaps millions..of people caught in the middle.  But to be perfectly honest, I haven’t been directly affected by it at all until now; and I’m not going to get much sympathy from you good folks when I tell you how.

You see, Linda and I leave Wednesday hosting another Keloland/Holiday Vacations tour; this time to Hawaii. We have had the pleasure of visiting the Islands twice before and are looking forward to traveling with a group of nearly 40 others from the Keloland viewing area who signed up to go with us. For a lot of those people, this has been a life long dream; one they’ve spent years saving up for.

arizona mariott

Oh, most everything about this paradise that is our 50th state will be the same.  When we arrive, lovely brown skinned Hawaiian ladies in grass skirts will still meet us at the airport with a smile, an Aloha greeting and a lovely wreath of local fragrant flowers to place around our necks. There will be gentle ukulele music in the background as we check in to our high rise Honolulu hotel with a balcony facing Waikiki Beach and Diamond Head off to our left. We’ll enjoy an umbrella beverage as we gaze down on the emerald Pacific waters with waves carrying surfers to shore.

But, thanks to those jackasses in Washington D.C., (pick a party to blame) our scheduled trip to Pearl Harbor and the Battleship Arizona National Memorial along with a tour of the National Memorial Cemetery honoring Americans who fought in the Pacific, won’t be happening much to the disappointment of many in our group who I know really wanted to experience it.

Tourists returning to buses after learning that the USS Arizona Memorial is closed because of the government shutdown.

Tourists returning to buses after learning that the USS Arizona Memorial is closed because of the government shutdown.

I really feel bad for them and also for Holiday Vacations, who really are stand-up folks, and have so many tours across the country that involve National Parks and monuments who are now left scrambling to come up with satisfying alternatives. It sounds like they’ve arranged for us to tour the famous battleship Missouri which is docked at Pearl Harbor. It was on that ship that the Japanese surrendered to General Douglas Macarthur ending World War II.  That’s certainly some consolation and should be very interesting. Still, it’s just a damn shame. But, you know,  it has been our experience after hosting so many of these tours that there is truly such a thing as “South Dakota nice” among the people who travel with us; a “go with the flow” attitude  which I envy. Anyway, maybe those blockheads in Washington will come to their senses in the next couple days and end this stalemate that, according to the latest CBS poll, 72 of Americans are fed up with. But I wouldn’t hold my breath. My nose, yes.

Anyway, as usual, I’ll post a few photos and share some stories of our Polynesian adventure right here on the blog over the next week and a half. I hope you can travel along with us next time.

The shutdown will surely be over by then won’t it?