Category: Travel Blog

Aloha Hawaii

img_7067Today, I am taking most of the family on our first family vacations in years.  We are going to Hawaii and will spend time on Oahu and Kauai islands.  I will be posting our usual travel blog on the trip with discussion of sights, restaurants, and adventures for any readers who might benefit from the experience and photos.  As always, I may be a tad delayed in posting depending on wifi and conditions. I will be posting the travel blog at the end of each day.  However, we take off this afternoon and will arrive in Honolulu around 9 pm local time.  Unfortunately, my son is doing pre-med studies and staying behind, though he and my brother-in-law are cheap house and dog sitters at the homestead! Continue reading “Aloha Hawaii”

My Wonderful, Inspiring, and Embarrassing Hike In the Cleveland National Forest

IMG_8073As is often my practice, I used an out-of-town speech this week to experience another of our wonderful national parks.  With my keynote to the Ninth Circuit scheduled for Monday, I used Sunday to explore the rough remote areas of the Cleveland National Park. I decided to get up early an hike the San Juan and Chiquito Falls trails.  It would turn out memorable beyond all of my expectations.  With a heat wave hitting the area, the hike in the desert environment was well over 100 degrees with no shade. Despite bringing over a gallon of water in my camel back, I ran out of water on the return of the long hike and ended up with heat stroke . . . and had to be airlifted out after taking a tumble into a ravine. More of that rescue later.  All I can say is that I can never repay the Orange County rescue team of the Sheriff’s office and fire department.  While I wish I was not the subject of their work, meeting these incredibly heroic first responders was an inspiring experience. I will be writing about that experience separately.  While I am now recovering from heat stroke in my hotel, I wanted to share some of the pictures before my embarrassing failure just short of the trail head. Continue reading “My Wonderful, Inspiring, and Embarrassing Hike In the Cleveland National Forest”


IMG_7862As I mentioned yesterday, the highlight of my recent trip to New Orleans was my visit (with my son Jack) to the greatly expanded World War II Museum.  I have visited the museum repeatedly since it was first opened.  As someone who continues to study and write on military history, this museum has been a joy to watch expand and improve through the years.  It is now the greatest military museum for the greatest generation. It is easily on par with the great museums of Europe like Musée de l’Armée at the Les Invalides in Paris. It should be a point of pride for all Americans in its expanding and unique collection of artifacts and weaponry from World War II.  Moreover, it is expanding even further and is now composed of multiple buildings and soon will be joined by The Higgins Hotel & Conference Center along with the massive Bollinger Canopy of Peace that will cover all of the buildings.  The result will certainly be a truly unparalleled facility committed to military history. Continue reading “THE GREATEST MUSEUM FOR THE GREATEST GENERATION: A TRIP TO THE NATIONAL WORLD WAR II MUSEUM”

New Orleans at 300: Aging Gracefully Along The Banks Of The Mississippi

IMG_7931I  recently visited New Orleans for a speech during the celebration of its 300th anniversary.  It coincides with the French Quarter festival and my son Jack and I had an absolute ball.  I lived in New Orleans when I taught at Tulane Law School (after clerking on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit).  I still have tremendous love for this unique city and its wonderful people.  Unfortunately, due to events in Washington, I have been delayed in posting some of the pictures.  Tomorrow I will be posting the pictures from my visit to the greatly expanded World War II Museum.  As discussed below, my only negative review is the Royal House restaurant, which was truly abysmal.

Continue reading “New Orleans at 300: Aging Gracefully Along The Banks Of The Mississippi”



I am in New Orleans this week to speak at the Academy of American Appellate Lawyers (on Saturday) and celebrate the 300th anniversary of the founding of this great city. I lived in this wonderful when I taught at Tulane Law School.  It is always a joy to be back but particularly fun on this historical anniversary with my son, Jack, with me to enjoy the food and culture.

Continue reading “HAPPY 300TH TO THE BIG EASY”

A Walk Through The Windy City

IMG_7607I 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.

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Spokane In Full Fall Splendor


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.

Continue reading “Spokane In Full Fall Splendor”

Day 12: Farewell Hawaii

img_7078Day 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.

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Day 11: Hawaii

img_7135Day 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.

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Day 10: Hawaii

img_7025Day 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).

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Day 9: Farewell Guam

img_6302Day 9 was spent back on Guam. After a brutal 2 am flight (flights from Palau take off at ungodly hours to make connections), I made it to Guam and was reunited with my brilliant young hostess, Karen Quitlong, who had already planned a hiking trip to the Spanish Steps, a famous snorkeling area on the island. While the steps were turned out to be closed that day, the backup plan proved incredible.

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Day 8: Palau

My eighth day was spent enjoying the unique islands of Palau. I have heard my whole life how pristine and gorgeous these islands are, but nothing prepared me for encountering the lush jungle, turquoise blue waters, and rock islands. After torrential rains on the first day on Palau, the skies suddenly cleared in the morning and a perfect blue day emerged. With the help of our hosts, Judge Watford, his wife, and I went on a snorkeling trip that offered multiple stops in the rock islands. We then finished the day at a remarkably good Indian restaurant with Chief Justice Arthur Ngiraklsong.

Continue reading “Day 8: Palau”