And then there were three…Winding down as the days pass…An unreal video a year ago…

The fog began to roll in as the day wanes.

Yesterday afternoon, the six of us, TJ’s family of four and Tom and I, piled into the minivan for the two-hour drive to Kona. I had yet to experience this long drive across the Big Island from ocean to ocean. Tom had been too preoccupied to take photos when driving to Kona to pick up the family on December 6th. But, he also enjoyed it yesterday.

From left to right; Sarah, TJ, me, Tom, (front) Vincent, Jayden, Nik, Tracy, and Tammy, a photo we took yesterday of our remaining family members. Tammy, Tracy, and Vincent remain in Pahoa for four more days.

The terrain rapidly changed from ocean induced lush greenery to almost desert-like sparseness and dry vegetation. Signs were posted warning of extreme” risk of fire.

Low lying clouds surround the mountains.

By the time we arrived in Kona, the sun was setting. I couldn’t get a good vantage point for a sunset photo when our imminent goal was to get to Costco before they closed at 6 pm. TJ and family’s flights were at 8:10 pm.

Many mountain ranges on the Big Island are higher than an elevation of 10,000 feet.

They were thrilled to stop at Costco for a quick bite to eat before flying back to Minnesota while I found my awaiting laptop and purchased some nuts. We wouldn’t be driving back to this Costco anytime soon.

With many power lines obstructing this scene we still were in awe of this border of trees in the distance.

And then they were gone. And we began the long trek back to Pahoa in the dark. The winding mountainous roads weren’t so pretty in the dark and fog. 

As barren as the scenery is, it offers its own reflective beauty.

At some point, high in the mountains, Tom noticed the outside temperature was only 43 degrees, the coldest temperature we’d experienced since winter of 2011/2012. Even when we were in Iceland in September, it never got below 48 degrees.

The road ahead of us was long and desolate.

Finally, we returned home to an empty house for the first time since December 6th with Tammy’s family of three next door until January 2nd, a mere four days away. Adventurers that they are, we’ll see them here and there, as they complete their remaining Big Island “must do’s” seeing us in between their exciting water-related challenges. We’ll cherish every last moment together.

As we drove by this dry vegetation at 60 mph, it was evident as to why there were fire warnings.
We find beauty in the simplicity of barren land.

Today, my dear sister is having big surgery in LA. I’ll stay close at hand to take calls from her partner with updates on her progress. I can only pray for a good outcome and recovery as she works her way through a difficult time.  Although far away, I am at her side, as we always have been for one another. The same case applies to my older sister in Nevada who also suffers from ill-health.  (It’s in the genes).

The terrain was mostly lava rock interspersed with vegetation that eventually makes its way through the dense lava.
It was sunny but late in the afternoon as we shot the wilderness in the center of the Big Island.

While hanging out a home today, I’ll begin the process of setting up the new laptop. It’s been quite the task, typing on a $10 external keyboard these past few weeks. What a relief, a year later to have a laptop that works well for me as opposed to the keyboard problematic version I’d purchased in South Africa last February with some unfamiliar international aspects. 

Have a meaningful Monday. Back at you soon.

Photo from one year ago today, December 29, 2013:

It was one year ago on this date that we posted this video of tree frog mating in the tree over our pool in Marloth Pak. For the details of that story, please click here.

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