I am in my hometown of Chicago this weekend — still recovering from the loss of our Cubs to the Dodgers (who cheated by hitting the balls outside of Wrigley where our players could not catch them and throwing the balls really, really fast so we could not hit them). Returning home for me continues to be rejuvenating, particularly with this unseasonably warm weather. I wanted to share a few pictures of our beautiful city to counter the dire descriptions that have been raised in the political forum. Chicago is experiencing a terrible violent crime wave, but the city is not the hellscape that comes out of some political exchanges. I will readily admit that I am biased. I have always been proud to be a Chicagoan and raised in this resilient city. I hope that people will come for themselves to experience the wonderful lakeshore, restaurants, bars, museums, architecture, boating, sports, and sights.
I am leaving Spokane, Washington this morning after a glorious time exploring the woods of the Pacific Northwest. After coming out for a speech to judges and lawyers in this district, I was able to get in three days of hiking. Spokane is one of those cities that is a dream for hikers. In literally just 20 minutes, you can find yourself in the hills and mountains of Washington.
My trip to the islands over the last two weeks included a major bonus for me in addition to the military history, hiking, great foods, and great friends. The visit to Hawaii means that I have now visited all 50 states. Indeed, I have now hit most of the territories with the exception of American Samoa (which is long over due for a constitutional lecture).
Day 12 is my final day on Oahu and my departure to the states. I spent the hours before my flight in a mad search for gifts. It tried last night without success but had more success today. The last roughly two weeks have been an amazing experience in visiting Guam, Saipan, Palau, Tinian, and Hawaii. My greatest hope is that the travel blog might inspire some of our readers to travel this far into the Pacific. It is worth it. Trust me.
Day 11 was my hiking day in Hawaii. In the morning, I did one of Hawaii’s famous waterfall hikes followed by a second hike to a crater. I then climbed Diamondhead overlooking Honolulu. I ended the long day by going swimming at Waikiki. I did not wait for changing into a swimsuit. After the three hikes, I was dying to go into the warm green waters and dove in as soon as I made it back. It was great to float in the surf as the sun went down over Waikiki. After cleaning up, I then went back to Waikiki to watch the evening fireworks. They were awesome. You can just lie on the beach and they fire off truly impressive fireworks from a small lagoon. I loved it. It was a great way to spend my final night on the island.
Day 10 was spent immersed in my passion for military history at one of the world’s most historic sites: Pearl Harbor. After arriving the night before, I set out for Pearl Harbor by public bus. The public buses on Oahu are wonderful. The Hawaiian bus drivers are incredibly nice and helpful. Just tell them where you need to go and they are full of suggestions and will often call out to you to make a transfer. I have been taking buses all day and found everyone of the drivers to be hugely helpful and kind. Trips cost only $2.50 and you get to see more of the island (including areas with large numbers of homeless people).
Due to the lack of internet access during the trip, I was not able to post Tinian pictures of our exciting day exploring the runaway for the Enola Gay, the historical site of the Taga Latte stones, and the wonderful feast on the beach with the mayor and others from this island.