Category Archives: Adventures

Hawaii Nature Center

 After we went to Iao Valley we stopped at the Hawaii Nature Center which is just down the road.  It is a really beautiful place with some trails and lots of flowers and statues.




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Iao Valley in Maui, HI

Christine, Jonnie, Robby and I had a great time exploring the lush vegetation of Iao Valley.  When I lived on Maui many years ago, my friends and I would come here and relax by the river when it was really hot at the beach.


 ʻĪao Valley is a dense rainforest  The Puʻu Kukui summit receives an average 386 inches of rainfall per year.  Much of this rainfall ends up in the ʻĪao Stream that runs through the forest.

The main attraction is the ‘Iao needle (Kuka’emoku) – a 1200′  high peak created by erosion of the softer rock around .


Learn more about Iao Valley here 

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Kahanu Gardens in Hana, HI

Robby and I visited the  Kahanu Garden before visiting my friend Alana who moved to Hana around 6 years ago.

Walking around Kahanu Garden is like stepping back in time.  It’s where the first Polynesian voyagers settled.  It was an important agricultural area, where the community thrived and prospered under the guidance of their ali‘i (chiefs).  Pi‘ilanihale Heiau means “House of Pi‘ilani” the temple is made of sacred lava stone and was built in several stages, beginning at the end of the 13th century.   The heiau was built by a powerful ruler, where they held religious activities,  the ruler and his high chiefs most likely lived there or nearby.  Read the history here.


Maui is a very special place to me.  I lived there for a year in my early 20′s and loved it!  I haven’t been there in many years, so it was a real treat to be able to go back.  Christine, Jonnie, Robby and I all went to celebrate our dear friend Maggie’s marriage.  It was a lot of fun catching up with her, her family and some of our really good friends I haven’t seen in years.


We did so many fun things like playing tourist hanging out by the infinity pool at the Marriott all day drinking wine. We went snorkeling, drove to Hana and saw my good friend Alana, ate at some great restaurants like my friend Moonstars named Nuka and The Fish Market.  We also had a nice dinner at Moonstars and I made dinner our last night for everyone.  So wonderful hanging out with great friends!  Great times for sure!!!

Berkeley Botanical Gardens

This weekend Robby and I went to the Berkeley Botanical gardens. It was incredibly  beautiful.  They have an amazing diverse collection of plants from around the world arranged by geographical origin. There are nine major geographical regions which include The Mediterranean, Asia, South Africa, New World Deserts, South American, Australasia ( Australia, New Zealand and high elevations of islands in the South Pacific.)


If you have a chance to go to Berkeley I recommend checking it out!


Protea & Elephant ears
 Prickly Pear Cactus
Cactus Pear
Water Lilies
Fern Tree

We stopped in downtown Berkeley and when I opened my door this is what
I saw. : )   I will leave you on that note!
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Tulum Mexico

Some friends and I went to Tulum a few years back and it was such an amazing place I thought I’d share it with you.


Tulum was built late in the thirteenth century, during the Mayan post-classic period.  It was also the only Mayan city built on a coast


Tulum was one of the last cities built by the Mayans between the 13th and 15th centuries and managed to survive about 70 years after the Spanish began occupying Mexico. The Spanish settlers brought Old World diseases which, appears to have been the cause of their demise


 There are three major structures, El Castillo, The Temple of the Frescoes, and the Temple of the Descending God


Each Mayan city had a specific purpose, Tulum was a seaport, trading mainly in Turquoise and Jade


Temple of the Frescoes was used as an observatory for tracking the movements of the sun


In the corners of the Temple of the Frescoes are two stucco masks believed to possibly be Chaac the Rain God


 The El Castillo Temple served as  a navigational signal to the large cargo canoes that the Mayans used in their trading with other civilizations up and down the coast


The El Castillo Temple has steps leading up to a columned shrine on the top


We stayed at our friend place in Playa del Carmen and these cute littles guys called Coatimundi were in our back yard everyday along with numerous birds and other animals.  We fed them fruit which they absolutely love!  I loved the little baby on the left.

Old Santa Barbara Mission

The Santa Barbara Mission was the tenth of the California Missions to be founded by the Spanish Franciscans. December 4, 1786.


The original buildings were made of adobe.  Over time three adobe churches were constructed on the grounds, each larger than the one before until the fourth and present church was built in 1820.


The earthquake of June 29, 1925 caused considerable damage.  Restoration work was completed in 1927, and the towers were reinforced in 1953.


The original people were the Chumash Indians who inhabited the land from Malibu to San Luis Obispo.


They were hunters and gatherers.  They made baskets, stone bowls and tools. They also built plank boats (tomols), which used to travel to the Channel Islands.


In 1807, an Indian Dam was built to bring water thru an aqueduct.  There were also cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, mules, and horses in great number.  In 1809, there were 5,200 head of cattle and in 1803 11,221 head of sheep.


 The Franciscans taught them how to grow wheat, barley, corn, beans, and peas.  They also grew orange trees, olive trees, and grapevines.


When the Mission period ended, the buildings were used for a number of purposes.  From 1868 until 1877, the Franciscans conducted a high school and junior college.


For the full story behind the  Old Santa Barbara Mission check out their website


Dreamy Draw Recreation Park

Dreamy Draw Recreation Area is a gateway into the diverse desert landscape that offer’s everything from fantastic views to secluded valleys.  The area boasts of many miles of trails, you virtually get to enjoy the glory of the Sonoran Desert in relative solitude.  Dreamy Draw is a perfect spot for hiking or biking.

DreamyDraw The area was long used for mining and grazing, it did not become a city of Phoenix possession until 1959, when the area was annexed and a long-term lease agreement was signed with the state of Arizona.  It later became one of the major rallying points for mountain preservation efforts.

Dreamy22 The day was a little cloudy, a storm was rolling in but the clouds and lighting were amazing

Dreamy21 Piestewa Peak


The paved bike path along side the nature trails is great for biking, skateboarding, skating, etc.

Dreamy Draw offers many visual rewards

Some of natures treasures in the hands of youth

Dreamy23 As the rain started to sprinkle the sun peaks through giving us hope to finish our hike with a little warmth :)

Dreamy Draw Recreation Area

2421 E. Northern Ave.

Map to the Area

Ranger Office Phone: (602) 261-8318

Hours: All gated roadways and trailhead parking areas are open 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. Trails remain open until 11 p.m.

Santa Barbara Adventures

Santa Barbara is a beautiful city full of amazing Spanish architecture with tons of phenomenal restaurants and gorgeous beaches.  There are lots of fun things to do like the wine tasting on the wine trail, shopping in downtown, rent bikes to ride on the bike path, natural history museum, botanical gardens, whale watching and so much more!

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Donati Family Vineyard Paso Robles California

The Donati Family Tasting Room resembles a European Chateau


I love how they are doing sustainable farming, allowing for natural predators and reduced use of pesticides.  It is a hospitable environment for vine and fruit growth.  They regularly hand-tend each and every vine, the family is gradually learning that effective and efficient sustainable practices can indeed make a significant difference in both the local environment and in the grape and wine quality.  Hopefully one day they wont use any pesticides.


                                                        The Tasting Room

They produce a variety of wines; Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Syrah, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Blanc and Petite Verdot.


Cool Door in the Tasting Room


I bought the Chardonnay, it is unoaked which is harder to come by.  It is a crisp wine with a bit of citrus, pear and honey.

Located on the corner of Highway 46 West and Vineyard Drive nestled in the hills of Templeton, CA.

Donati Family Vineyard
2720 Oak View Rd.
Templeton, CA 93465
Phone: 877-511-WINE (9463)
Local: (805) 238-0676