Hola from LA! We flew into LAX yesterday and are visiting our dear friend, Debbie Yates, in Culver City, California, en route to Hawaii for our 30th anniversary. It’s been a beautiful day here in Southern California: clear skies and about 72° outside, so we took advantage of the weather and the fact that today … Continue reading

Hale Mauka

We flew from Los Angeles to the big island of Hawaii today, with a short layover in Honolulu. We’re now near the little village of Volcano, about 25 miles southwest of Hilo, staying at Hale Mauka (Hawaiian for “mountain house”), our home exchange. Our home exchange partners, Rob and Diana, moved to the big island … Continue reading

Kilauae Caldera

The house we’re staying in is about 2 miles from the Kīlauea Caldera in the Volcano National Park. The volcano has erupted as recently as 1982! Here’s an aerial photograph to give you a little perspective on how close we are (the blue dot is us): The Hawaiian Islands are volcanic islands. As fissures have … Continue reading


The ancient Hawaiians lived within a fuedal system, something like the way people lived in medieval England. They had kings, lords, knights and peasants (although the Hawaiians had different names for these castes) and the Hawaiian kings also claimed to derive their power to rule from the gods. And like in europe in the Middle … Continue reading

Saddle Up

Our trip to the Waipi‘o Valley yesterday was our main stop on a drive to see the two northern volcanos, Kohala and Mauna Kea. Starting from Volcano Village, we first drove through Hilo where we stopped to look at the statue of Hawaii’s great King, Kamehameha I. Kamehameha the Great (b.1758-d.1819) was King of the … Continue reading

Can You Canoe?

Yesterday afternoon we drove to Kona and checked into Marriott’s King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel for our last two nights on the Big Island. After we got ourselves settled, we walked along the waterfront where a couple outrigger canoe teams were practicing on Kamakahonu Bay. That’s our hotel in the background of the first photo; … Continue reading


This morning, we drove up the windward coast of Oahu. About a third of the way to the far north end, we stopped at the Byodo-In Temple, a Japanese Buddhist temple built in 1968 to commemorate the first Japanese immigrants to Hawaii. It was just like being in Japan. The entire temple was built without … Continue reading

Rodeo Drive

We stopped for a hamburger at the small village of Kahuku on the northern end of the island and while we were eating, I heard a tentative voice behind me say, “Mr. Ulmer? Is that you?” Imagine my surprise when I turned around to see Kyle’s good friend, Alex Thommes, standing there, behind me! It … Continue reading