Wander project King’s Island Amusement Park (Maineville Ohio)…


King’s Island is located just North of Cincinnati Ohio on I-71. The first time I saw King’s Island was on the Brady Bunch TV show (my sister and I watched that). I went for the first time when I was a high school freshman (with the band). I went again as a high school senior. I went several times while I was in college. Different groups at different times. Then, while living in the Cincinnati Ohio area we moved to Maineville (Maineville is the township that King’s Island is actually physically in). In fact our apartments butted right up against the woods that surround King’s Island so we went quite a bit. I’ve shared all of this before. I don’t like the crazy turn you upside down and dangle you for 10 minutes rides. I do however love to ride the roller coasters. Back when I was younger I would get to KI as early in the AM as I could so I could, with whatever group I was with, spring across the park to ride the Beast. The Beast was, for me, for many years the primary attraction of the park. The Beast is one of the largest wooden roller coasters ever made. You get the clicked clack of a train on tracks with the wonderful (and sudden) plunge of a roller coaster.


Watching the kids on these bumper cars is why I wonder if any of my children should ever be allowed to drive. Being in the bumper cars with the kids was terrifying. In particular because for some reason they all love to slam into either mom or dad. Not once, not twice not even one time each but instead they desire to ram mom and dad many times.Which made my plan of ramming each of them a little harder. While I was seeking one of them, the other two of them were seeking me. It was an interesting learning experience. The learning was should my children ever drive? The experience was bruises and bumps. We actually have been to a number of Amusement parks over the years. We’ve done the mandatory family trip to Disney World and Epcot center. We’ve done amusement parks here on the East Coast as well. We went to the magical LEGOLAND in Denmark as well. King’s Island was special though, for years it was the gold standard for me as to what and how an amusement park should be. It is also a place that I have been too so many times I understand its layout.


Barb about to be crushed while riding in the bumper cars. In 2011, we had a family reunion in Wisconsin Dells. Luke wanted more than anything to ride the wooden roller coaster, so we did (its called Hades). Amusement parks change and have changed over the years. There is now the mandatory water park, I have wandered through the water park but I am not a huge fan. I like swimming in lakes and the ocean. I do like riding in the flume and landing in a pool but the actual water park doesn’t hold much attraction for me anymore. First off because my eyes are sensitive and because of all the people and the reality of germs they have high chlorine levels in the pool. I am not a fan of that. Makes my eyes red. All the pictures shared today are from our last trip to King’s Island in 2010. We haven’t bene back since then, as we no longer live near the park. We don’t even, on our way to visit my sisters and mom, drive near Cincinnati anymore. That is funny to me, we lived there from 1991 to 1999. It is a wonderful city to go and see. If you do go I highly recommend stopping at, in and around King’s Island. One of the best amusement parks in the country.


Family Historian

Wander project the Volcano National Park…


Ah the ocean, heading off to the next island. I thought since I had really talked about all the cool places we went to, to actually share all the cool places today. So here are some of the cool places we saw. The first was the waterfall that was featured on the television show Fantasy Island. Yes, I did say Da Plane while were standing there. Hawaii has a lot of wild chickens (a result of the aftermath of the last big hurricane that hit the island). We saw chickens nearly everywhere. We went to the volcano national park. That was an amazing day. Just seeing the steam vents pumping heated water vapor into the air was really exciting to view. We wandered around the Volcano national park quite a bit (will share pictures in this blog of the park) and I got to take a lot of pictures. My favorite part of volcano national park was wandering the edge of the volcano crater. First off, I’ve seen video and still pictures of the volcano but you don’t realize how huge it is until you are there, standing on the edge.


What seems like an innocent fissure in the gourd. Of course it isn’t innocent, but it is a fissure. We wandered around the edges of the massive volcano for more than an hour. I realized for years while seeing the volcano erupt they take pictures from close to the volcano. When you go to the overlook and the museum perched at the edge of the crater it is massive. The crater stretches off into the distance and frankly the ground around the edges of the volcano look like the moon. Craters and holes in the ground. Only the occasional brave plants that sprout roots and grows. It is like there is a line, where plants stop growing. The hard volcanic rock with just a small amount of soil or just rock. The rocks strewn around as if a giant had reached down, plucked them from the earth and thrown them. Giant children playing in their rooms with toys, failing to obey the giant mom’s rule of put the toys away when you are done with them, leaving them strewn about, everywhere.




Flowers growing, holes spewing steam and proud signs. The amazing reality of the volcano. I first remember seeing the volcanos in the park when was about six. My father had a video, actually I believe to be honest it was a film. 16mm film of the volcano erupting. It may have been a filmstrip. I don’t recall. It was long before the VHS or Betamax were the primary presentation of visual information. It showed the eruption of the volcano the explosion and the force. To be standing there, on the edge where lava had been thrown many times was amazing. To walk by flowers, such the middle picture and then just five feet away a hole to the core of the earth was just mind blowing. I still think about that, I still wonder. I am amazed.

It was the highlight of our stop on the big island. One of many highlights in the strip Hawaii. But if you get the chance to go to Volcano National Park, go. You won’t regret it. You will see something beyond description in words or pictures. But you will have a memory to last a lifetime.


Family Historian

Wander Project still Hawaii…


My daughter has a wicked sense of humor. So, as stated before driving in Hawaii, in the car taking pictures. so of course like her father she takes a picture of another car, driving in Hawaii. I do however, know the intent of the picture. The sky blending into the ocean. The red car was speeding and passed us flying along, so not her fault. My favorite part of this first day trip was walking around the village. Nestled right on the water, the restaurant we picked for lunch actually jutted out into the water. As mentioned that first day I had Barb’s world famous Biscuits, sausage gravy and scrambled eggs for breakfast. For some reason something kicked in that day at lunch. First off I was near the ocean and I love sushi. So, fresh fish it was to be for lunch. But I also decided to cut down. I think.it has to do with the tropical weather and the availability of fresh fish and fresh fruit. I began my life style change (Barb says I am not supposed to call it a diet) on a Cruise Ship in Hawaii. I haven’t looked back! (I dropped below 90kg for the first time since 1984. There was a lot of whooping and shouting when that happened!).


The next part of this day is hard to talk about. We went to a whaling museum. I don’t know before, what I thought I would see at that museum. I don’t know what I expected. I know what I saw. I know the horror I felt. What if whales aren’t just creatures on this planet but our cousins, intelligent and capable of thought and communication? I saw the implements of whaling from 100 years ago and it made me sad. It actually still makes me sad now when I think about what was done. The fact that some countries still allow whaling to me is horrifying. Half the crew went to the beach while the rest of us wandered around the museum. It was a little disconcerting, so we wandered to a restaurant to have a pop and relax. The mall wasn’t like the mainland malls. It was open, like the one’s I remember from Thailand. shops lining both sides, with a huge open courtyard. There were several interesting sculptures in the courtyard, including one of a dinosaur that was amazing.


After our first days tour we returned to the boat. It was a great day! Except for the whaling museum, That still bothers me. The rest of the day was amazing. It was nice to have a place to come back to each night. The value of the cruise is you get to see the islands but you don’t have to pack, repack and then of course get on place. Everything stays in your cabin, and you move around. The ship then pulls out of the port and sets sail for the next destination. We’ve been on cruises before but this one was the one that kind of made the point to me. The value of a cruise is being able to have a single place to start from. A place with good food (well this cruise was ok food not good always). A place to sleep, to keep your stuff and a place to come back to each day. Plus add in things to do at night. Every night of the cruise there was a different show. Getting up at 4 am (yes even sadly on vacation) meant I didn’t stay up for many of the shows, I did make it to the stand up comedy show but that was the only one.


Family Historian

Wander project (it is still cold in Maryland) still in Hawaii…


There is a difference between the boat I have, and the ship that we spent a week on. Certainly, given the right circumstances I wouldn’t mind spend a week on my boat. But I would take 2500 of my closest friends with me. Over the course of a week you meet people. The difference in a cruise like this one was we did family activities at the various stops. Had we done the traditional tours we would have met even more people. Of course, we were with family so in the end, family is the most important thing anyway. You may not like what your family says, they may (and may have for years) know exactly how to annoy you, but they also know you and are a part of who you are. So they have the ability to help you move passed where you are. They have been there over time and shown that they won’t walk away from you no matter what. Friends are important, family is something however you cherish. The geneses of the family history project is the memories of family. My grandfather always told me to cherish family. The reason for that he would always say is no matter how high you climb the mountain of life, family was there before and they will be there if you reach the top, or if you fall off and have to start over. Family is the one constant you should never ignore.


Sometimes I look at the pictures I took of a place and time and I wonder. I start off with what is wrong with me. Obviously in the recesses of my brain there is a rhyme for this picture. A rationale. A theme perhaps buried deep in the megapixels of the image. That said I have no idea what this one is about. I suspect that the intent was the size of the cruise ship but since it is cropped and we have no idea how far away the ship was from me, we really don’t have any ability to determine the size of the ship based on the picture. We do however see how many bad pictures I take. When you document the past in the time that was the future, when you were in the event that has passed, you sometimes realize that there are moments that slip away. This is one of those moments. It seemed important enough to take the picture last year. To capture this millisecond as part of our families journey in Hawaii. Now that said I have no idea why. I guess this one is one of those –1 pictures.


As a child we used to go to Springmill State Park, on the way to the State Park was a rock cut like this. Although it was through limestone so I suspect a lot easier to cut than this volcanic rock cut. This is an imposing wall. Taken from the car (that much I know) in Hawaii. This was on our way to a beach and a whaling museum. The first stop that day was to wander around a town on the northern part of the island. Then to the whaling museum. This was on the way to the town. I can blame this, and roughly 40 more pictures of things from the car as we drove along on Jakki. I handed her the camera and said take pictures. I didn’t qualify my remark so she took pictures as I was driving. Of course, some of the pictures she took turned out amazing. If I had done that we would have 200 pictures of the lock knob on the door of the car with everything else blurry. Family are the people that make you better, the best you that you can ever be. Jakki is a much better photographer than I am. So are the boys, but they don’t like to take pictures anymore. When the do, they take interesting pictures at odd angles having their mother’s more visual eye for artistic moments. Me, I am all about the words.


Family Historian

Wander project the islands of Hawaii…


The adult only pool near the back of the cruise ship. I understand the reality of children and pools. I also understand that at times people take vacations without kids, so having kids around either makes them feel worse or it makes them miss their kids. Still an adult only pool struck me as not needed. Over the course of a week I sat in the bar area above the pool below 5 or 6 times. (They had cigars what can I say). Frankly in that week I saw maybe 10 people in that adult pool. Oh well. I spend a lot of time thinking about both the concepts and the reality of kids. Now as for the ship and my own kids, all three of them said they felt the ship rolling a little with waves. Even on the all ocean day I didn’t feel that. I do feel the rollers when we are out in the Chesapeake bay but our boat isn’t that big. On the Cruise ship I never felt them. I guess that is the funny reality of those who are sea ready and those that still aren’t. Funny that my kids didn’t get that from me. Or from my mom. Oh well. You never really know what you love will pass to your children. All three of my children love books (I love books and reading so much). I am happy with that.


Its funny when I think about it. We were outside wandering Hawaii. The skies due to the oncoming Hurricane (that didn’t arrive until the day after left) were gray. We didn’t care. We were outside in Hawaii. Over the course of 7 days we visited six islands. Barb and I had been to Oahu and Lanai in our previous trip. Now we were adding a number of other islands. Going to dad’s favorite park was the one day I was truly anticipating, The Volcano National park, dad and I had talked about that park many years before. We went to the top of the mountain to see the observatory. The observatory looked like it was set on the moon. The volcanic rock and sand looking more like the surface of the moon than of Hawaii. There was limited vegetation near or around the area we were at. You can, from the observation area see the observatory, walk around the top of what was and still is a volcano although one that has not erupted in a long time. But you walk around and you see so little plant life, so little life in general other than you. Walking on what was as near as you could get to feeling like you were on the moon.


A stark contrast the lunar scape on top of the mountain to the teeming life in the sea. One of the ports we stopped at Dolphins escorted the ship into the harbor. I watched that for awhile. In another, as we prepared to disembark and after the all-aboard call, I sat and watched people using paddle boards to wander around the non-commercial side of the harbor. Lots of people on standing paddle boards, paddling around the harbor. I can say that it was a magical view. Then to be on top the mountain, to see what was still lava. The entrails of lava flows, the sand created not by living things but by time making the ground as if the moon. Barren and lifeless, yet just below, driving back down the mountain dipping below 10,000 feet you saw lush vegetation and beautiful houses. As if the vegetation drew a line in the volcanic sand “here, no further.” That view though, from on top the mountain, was amazing. One of the things you never forget!


Family Historian

s pf

Wander project (still cold in Maryland) warm days in Hawaii!


There is also, in the family history (old photo archive) pictures of dad in Hawaii. Our family friends the Kondo’s live in Hawaii. Dad visited them often, Dr. Kondo like dad also worked for UNESCO. He and the rest of his family went to Afghanistan and Fiji. This picture would be from the 1970’s after they had left Kabul and moved to Fiji. We have a lot of pictures of Hawaii. Dad’s favorite place was the Volcano National park. The older pictures are 35mm pictures taken with dad’s Pentax camera. They are sadly often in B&W so you don’t get the full impact of the natural scenery. This particular picture based on timing may actually be in Fiji rather than Hawaii. As I said the Kondo’s left Afghanistan and ended up working in Fiji. I know dad visited them in Fiji so this may actually not be Hawaii but another part of the south pacific island world. The two youngsters in the picture are Jill and Leslie Kondo, the two children of the family. Dr. Kondo and Mrs. Kondo moved to Bloomington to be part of the Science Education department at Indiana University. They are the family we visited with in 2015, having brunch and catching up after not seeing each other in quite a few years.


Part of our crew in front of a banyan tree on Waikiki beach. I love typing Waikiki. Why? Because it is a word I misspelled so many times in recounting trips to Hawaii that I now have it memorized. We stopped at the tree after wandering the beach. This was taken on our first night. We stayed in a smallish non-chain hotel just off Waikiki. We wandered to a local place for dinner, then wandered the beach as the sun was setting. It is fun sometimes just to be a tourist. This is the crew that didn’t go out for noodles. This crew is my mother, sisters, their husbands and two nieces. The rest of the crew went off for noodles and such. Then next day mom, barb, lynne, and barb went off to the swap meet to buy t-shirts and the like. The boys and I, as mentioned were in search that Saturday of Loco Moco. We found it, also as mentioned before in the Jimmy Buffet Cheeseburger in Paradise restaurant right off of Waikiki beach. I wonder, if the sarcasm of a Cheeseburger in Paradise restaurant just off of the paradise of Waikiki beach is lost on people. I know it made me smile realizing it was a double paradise, cheeseburger!


Riding in the car. We, on our first day after our first afternoon, and after our first night, of the cruise. Just to be confusing. Basically we got on the cruise ship in the afternoon of our first full day in Hawaii. So we landed in Honolulu airport, made our way to Waikiki and our hotel. Spent the night, in the morning wandered around the swap meet (some of us) and searched for Loco Moco (the boys and I). In the early afternoon we boarded a bus and headed to the cruise ship. We then went through the boarding process for the cruise ship. That took a bit in the afternoon, and then the ship left port in the evening. We docked in the early morning hours and were free to explore. My sister had arranged rental cars for us, so we took off in three cars to explore the island. There are many pictures from the car as we drove to the other side of the island. We were heading to an historical village/town to wander around for awhile. We did manage to find a lunch place and fresh sushi as well.




Not all pictures taken from moving cars are good. I love the one my daughter took of the front of the car. (3rd one). But, Jakki did a good job capturing the passing landscape via the camera as we drove along. In many cases the image was standing still, and the car was moving at 60mph. So the reality of bodies in motion made some of the images a little shaky.


Family Historian

Wander project docking in Hawaii…


I think my favorite day we spent in Hawaii was towards the end of the cruise. This was early on (first port). There is something to be said for bringing or being on a boat as it comes into port. There is a quiet majesty as that happens. The bigger the boat the louder the quiet majesty is. We had day trips planned every time we came into port (except for one day that was later in the cruise). Chances to go out and see other parts of the island we were docked on. The cruise has one sea day but for the most part you cruise at night and dock during the daylight hours. Due to the hurricanes approaching the big island (and ultimately missing the big island) in August 2015 they reversed the direction of our cruise (going to the islands in the opposite order of normal). I wouldn’t know the difference never having been on that cruise before. Guillermo, the hurricane was a topic of conversation but only impacted us on the very last day with slightly choppy water.


I love sitting on the upper deck and watching the ship come in. I enjoy doing the same thing with my boat, but it is really fun when a professional does it. I have plus or minus 10 feet of play. The cruise ship has plus or minus 1000 feet of play but it is also 400 feet of beam so it is really percentage wise a lot less play than I have. Plus the impact of a cruise ship would be a lot more. So it is a delicate maneuver. The tug boats are there as security blankets. It is amazing to me how easily the captain of the ship can maneuver into very small and what seems to be tight spaces with what is a very large ship. The other thing about the cruise ship and docking is it is less impacted by wind than my boat is, but it is also coming into port with a lot more momentum. Truly cruise ship captains are amazing! The first day of the cruise was the only day I hate Barb’s breakfast invention. Many years ago at a Residence Inn in Naperville Illinois Barb invented the following breakfast. Biscuits with scrambled eggs on them, covered in sausage gravy. While I had by the time she showed me that creation been over 500 nights at Marriott hotels I had never made that connection. On the cruise they had all the components, adding a local flavor of scrambled eggs with spam in them. Plus I like to add whatever hot sauce is available. Tabasco preferred but any hot sauce will do.


Some of my earliest memories of water are watching the sun set with my grandfather on Lake Ripley. 20 years after he passed away I still find myself missing him. Less now than in the beginning but I miss him. I watch the video we took of him telling stories in 1996 just a few months before he died from time to time. I still cry. This trip to Hawaii was to celebrate the other person I miss a lot. We took this trip a little over a year after dad passed away. He didn’t want a memorial, just wanted all of us together for a meal to remember him. Hans Andersen was a grand man. I miss him. As the fall comes and the leaves begin to change I miss dad. We (he and I) loved to listen to IU Football. We loved to watch IU Basketball together, or separately and then talk the game afterwards. It was something we shared. I have so many friends now, but few I can talk IU Basketball with. In part because that was something I did with dad. But sunsets on water remind me of Grandpa Ray. 2016 has been a not great year. There are so many bad things happening. I am glad there are the happy memories of our summer vacation in 2015 wandering Hawaii!

I will strive for the rest of my life to live up to the ideals of my Grandfather and my father. They were both grand men I hope someday to make their level!


Family Historian