Paia Secret Beach (Clothing Optional)

Located between Baldwin Beach Park on the north side, and Paia Bay on the south, this small beautiful beach is a nude beach. The day, and only day, I went there were two people  (weather wasn’t perfect) and both were reading books, one in a hammock and one in the sand. Both were fully clothed. I was actually relieved. At the Paia end, there is an old WWII pillbox that local artists use for creative endeavors. On the north end there is a wooded area with a fair number of homeless people living in tents.(Maybe 25 to 50). The only way to access the beach is through the woods, or by 4X4 through a locked gate, or walk up the beach from the Paia end.

Wooded path to the beach from Baldwin.

There is a manmade rock wall on the Baldwin side that always has a lot of Sea Turtles swimming near it. That is also where the homeless live.  From what I have witnessed and read about, the homeless pretty much stick to themselves, and have never bothered me on many, many trips to the beaches. The waves are fairly substantial here, no reef protection, so not the best for the average swimmer. There are no facilities at this location, you would have to carry all your beach stuff. No lifeguard either. If you have kids that like the water, Baby Beach on the north end of Baldwin is the place to take them, not here. But if you are looking for letting loose, this would be a great place to do it. The other popular nude beach is on the west side of Maui at Makena Beach (the nude part is called Little Beach). That one is a lot busier, so what ever makes you comfortable.

                                                                       Beachfront condo on Paia Secret Beach.

 

Kama”ole Beach Park III (Kam 3)

Kama’ole Beach Park III is one of three beaches named Kama’ole (called Kam 3 to make it easy) in Kihei, a town on the dry western side of Maui, population a little over 20,000.  Because all three beaches are right in town, they are very popular with the many tourists and snowbirds who stay in the condos and homes in Kihei, where they can walk to the beach.

This is my kids favorite beach, and given a choice, always want to come here. The beach is not that wide, but the sand is very soft, and it gently slopes into the ocean making it a great place for swimming and boogie boarding. Because its on the leeward side of the island, there is less wind and smaller waves. Also a great beach for watching sunsets and whales in season. If you like to snorkel, there is great snorkeling around the protruding rocks that bracket the beach on both ends. There is a bit of a hill to go down to get to the sand, but there are many wooden stairs and ramps to use to make it easy.

A nice feature of this beach is a fairly nice sized parking lot, which Kam 1 and Kam 2 do not have. There is also a lifeguard station, playground equipment, outdoor showers, picnic tables, large park, and restroom facilities. I will mention it more than once, but don’t expect much when you come to the public beaches as far as the restrooms are concerned. They are very basic, and show the signs of lots of use. Not anything like you get at the big “Westworld” resorts, but then again, they are free to use for everyone.

On weekends, it gets hard to park because there are always private parties going on in the large park, many times with inflatable rides, slip and slides, and food. There is street parking on the south side of the lot if that is the case. The beach is usually busy too, being the most popular of the three Kam beaches. Its a great, laid back place for the kids (and you) to have fun in the water. Also, being right in town, its and easy drive to get lunch or shop at the many places available not to far away.

Thoughts about turning 64

Today is my birthday, turning 64 years old. I would like to share what it feels like for me.

When I was young (in my teens and early 20’s), I never thought I would live to be old. Old at that time was anyone over 30. Dying didn’t scare me, too dumb to know I guess. In my 30’s through 50’s I was way too busy with life, work, family, relationships to think about the aging process. My biggest worry was making money. Turning 64, money is and always will be an issue of course, but now it has softened and I realize it isn’t the be all and end all I thought it was. Now I worry about health, and the fact that I have a limited number of years left, unknown of course. I could live 1 more year, or maybe 40. I take less chances, watch more of what I eat, pay attention to how I feel on the inside. My biggest worry now is to be around as long as possible for my kids. I know the pain of losing a parent, I have lost both of mine. I want to delay that pain for as long as I can for them.

I have done and learned a lot of things in my 64 years. Some good, and some not so good. That doesn’t mean that advise will pertain to anyone else. I have finally learned that what I know may or may not work for me, but not for everyone else. If someone asks my opinion about something, I will gladly give it, but I no longer feel the need to try to direct someone else’s life. That is their responsibility.

Physically, I feel the same as I did when I turned 30, or 40, or 50, or 60. Not much has changed, except my appearance. My teeth are all still there, I still have the same glasses prescription, I can still lift the same amount of weights at the gym, my back is still sore getting out of bed in the morning, I drive the same speed as I always had, I get up and go to bed at the same time, and don’t consider myself old. (Maybe 64 is the new 24). I am more aware of the consequences an injury might have, so I do take less chances of getting hurt.

I am more patient, or at least I think I am. It comes in handy with a teenage daughter and a son under 10.

I care less about what others think of me. I try to be the real me with everyone, including my kids. I want them to know their real Dad. That doesn’t mean I don’t care, but you are being unfair to yourself and others by pretending to be someone you are not.

I am more grateful for the things I have, and less worried about the things I don’t. I am so grateful for my kids. I can’t imagine my life without them. I am grateful for all of the ups and downs in my life, for it has made me the person I am today. Sure, there are lot’s of regrets, but that’s life. The big lesson there, let it go…

Finally, I see the value in living every day 100%, even though I still have a lot of work to do in that area. Life was meant to be enjoyed, each and every minute that we are here. I enjoy sunsets. I only have 365 of them this coming year, and I hope to enjoy each and every one of them.

 

Why Maui

Why move to Maui. Beyond the obvious of great weather and gorgeous scenery, there are many factors that go into moving from the known to the unknown where ever that may be. My first trip to Maui was back in 1993, on a trip I won with Chevrolet while I was working at a dealership. All expenses paid, staying at a beautiful resort in Wailea, the upscale part of the island. I remember walking along the paved ocean path, looking at the resorts and condos overlooking the ocean. I was here for 8 days. One day as I was walking, there was a condo that stood out from all the others, being closer to the ocean and having the best view. As I walked , there was a nurse pushing an elder gentleman in a wheelchair out on the covered veranda overlooking the ocean, and I could see (maybe 40 feet away) that he didn’t have a lot of time left on this earth. I vowed right then and there that would not be me. I was not going to move here when I could no longer enjoy living.

Over the years, as I got married (in Maui) and my family grew, Maui was always the dream. So when I got the chance to move here, it was if a manifestation dream came true.  Is it perfect, of course not. There are bugs, and spiders, lots of traffic, high cost of living, people different than me, too hot, too muggy, blah blah blah.  Was life perfect back home in Minnesota? Absolutely not. So now it comes down to the age old question of choices. I am still facing that choice.  Back in Minnesota I still have a wonderful 3200 square foot home, which the kids can’t wait to go back to this summer, and I have to make a decision. Sell and move on, or move back, or take the in-between route and rent my house, having the backup plan to move back if it doesn’t work out in Maui.

So right now it is 8:30 PM at night. Temperature is 75 degrees.  On my deck I am listening to a band, might even be Santana, practice in the home across the jungle from me. They sound great. I just got done watching a beautiful sunset, and getting ready to view a starry night unparalleled anywhere on earth. Maui is living up to all the expectations I have placed upon her. So why am I so torn. What is causing the anxiety in me?

Change. When I was 20, I could change my life on a dime. Then life happened. By life I mean responsibility. Now I fight change like a fish fights the hook and line. I was never like this. I want to be like the person I was at 20, open to everything and anything.

What are you trying to say? There is a place for you. Whether it be beach or iceberg, it is your destiny. My destiny is Maui, no matter how I may try to fight it. I hope that you find yours. It took me a lifetime to find mine.

 

How to make a book cover for paperback and kindle

While I was writing my how to buy a car book, I researched the process of making a cover. I was having a bit of anxiety with all the steps to get done. Then I discovered Fiverr. If you don’t already know, Fiverr is a global marketplace matching freelancers from all over the world to get your task, whatever that may be, done for anywhere from $5 to over $500 per job. I used them to make my book cover. Here is how that worked.

When you log on to their website, Fiverr.com, you search for what you want to have done, in this case a book cover. There are literally hundreds, if not thousands of people offering their services. They advertise what they will charge, and what you will get for that. They also have additional work if you want, but everything is up front about what they charge. I was not sure about what I wanted being my first book, so I chose two freelancers to design a cover for me.

The first person I chose was a gal from the US, who said she could produce a cover in 48 hours. All of this is done by email through the Fiverr site. Once you have chosen someone, then you pay for the service upfront, which in this case was $15. The freelancer then has 48 hours, what she advertised her turnaround time was, to produce a cover. I heard from her once, when she got the order, and never another word. But Fiverr keeps track, and when the 48 hours was up, they gave me the option of cancelling the job, and get a refund, or wait longer. I chose to cancel and they refunded my $15 and put it on account.

Because I was anxious to get something done, I ordered my cover from two different people next. One was from the US with a 48 hour turnaround time, and the other from India with a 5 day turnaround. The person from India was a lot busier, as you could tell by the amount of reviews he had. They both came through with covers on time as promised. I spent $20 on one, and $27 on the other, tip included. You pay for the job up front, but if you are pleased with the work, you can leave them a tip. I know 5 bucks in the US might not go too far, but in some countries, it may be quite a substantial amount. Besides, I pride myself on being a good tipper, having worked for them at one time.

What they send you is a completed cover, and yes, you can revise it all you want, which I did a couple of times. Before they design it, they ask what format you will be using it in, in this case paperback and Kindle e-book. They will then send you the right format to send it to Amazon. They also ask what other designs caught your eye, to get an idea of what you like, or are looking to have something similar.

I am glad I found out about Fiverr, before I tried to make one myself, or paid a designer big bucks because I didn’t know there was another way. Both designs were great, so I could have gotten by with investing only $20 buck for the cover, instead of $47 for two designs, but hey, call me the big spender.

Here are the two covers. I chose the one on the left because I liked the curves up ahead symbolism of trying to negotiate a car. I think the one on the right stands out better, and with Amazon publishing, I can switch covers with the push of a button (key).

SPIDERS SPIDERS SPIDERS

Upcountry is living on the side of the volcano. The elevation where I live is 1800 feet above sea level. The reason that people like it up here is that the weather is cooler, the price of homes less expensive, and they like spiders. They must, because there are lots of them here, and big ones too.  I DON’T LIKE SPIDERS.

This morning my daughter, who is 13, shouted one of those “Dad” alarms, the kind that tell you something is very wrong, and I came out of my bedroom as she was pointing into hers. She had flipped on the light switch, and on her wall was a huge, nasty spider. The kind you get in nightmares. Not sure if he was looking for a small dog or cat to eat, we don’t have a pet. Of course I had to balance my Dad will take care of it with my heart pounding from shock. I grabbed a mop out of the closet, and in short order he was disappearing down the toilet.

This wasn’t my first encounter with the beasts. A couple of weeks after I moved in, I opened the lid of the washer (it’s in the carport), turned on the water, and when I was about to put the detergent in, a big nasty was trying to climb out. Scared the you know what out of me. Needless to say I am a bit apprehensive about that washer now.

The second time was about three weeks ago. I opened the louvered folding door to the linen closet, and I could see one duck behind the louvers. I climbed in my car, went to Home Depot, and bought a huge bottle of bug killer. When I got home I doused the closet. Sure enough, about three hours later, he was crawling on the floor, looking like he had a huge hangover. Down the toilet went that one too.

In researching the beast, I think it’s called a Cane Spider, which is common in Maui, and can grow up to 4 inches.  4 inches is a pretty small fish, but a 4 inch spider on your wall looks like something right out of Aliens.  Supposedly, they seldom bite, and kill lots of other bugs, which is fine with me. Just do it outside. In fact, I live in the midst of lots of trees, and have come to accept the abundance of webs surrounding my house. I figure its like having a natural screen house, since I don’t have one. I don’t like how they spin their webs in the carport every night, and you walk into them getting in your car. You always wonder if you have one on your head or back.

But for today I promised my daughter to spray her room, and wash her bedding. She said she would not be sleeping in it if I didn’t. Smart girl.

                                                                The beast, about to be flushed. Sorry, bug lovers.

Ho’okipa Beach (Surfer Beach)

 

If you like to surf or windsurf, then this is the place for you. But you better be good, because it’s not for beginners. Here’s where the pros go. I’s a great place to watch them, and get a gorgeous view of the ocean and huge waves from the lookout parking lot as you first enter the beach area, appropriately named Ho’okipa Lookout. There are always craft and food venders in the lot, and it’s fairly easy to find a place to park because people come and go quickly, by Maui standards.  There is a metal guardrail near the edge of the cliff, but you can jump over it and make your way down to the water at the end of the point. But be careful, the waves are big and the currents strong.

Ho’okipa Beach is located a couple of miles past Paia on the Road to Hana, just south of Mama’s Fish House. It means “hospitality” in Hawaiian. It’s also a locals beach, and usually is busier on weekends, when the locals have days off and use the facilities for parties. To get down to the beach area, drive down a short one way road to the parking lot, of which there are two. There are also 2 lifeguard stations, rest rooms, picnic areas and pavilion. If you are looking to spend a relaxing day at the beach, then this is probably not the place for you. The beach’s sand is too grainy for my tastes, and it’s always windy, and there are lots of rocks at the shore. And it’s usually very busy with all the surfers. When you exit the parking lots, you will have to make a right turn back towards Paia. So if you are heading towards Hana, you will have to drive a few blocks to be able to turn around and head south again. If you are leaving the lookout area, you can turn both ways.

If your bag is not surfing, then there is something for you and the kids here. Green Sea Turtles, and lots of them. You can usually spot them swimming in the clear water from the lookout, but if you want to get close up, then park down by the beach and walk to the area right along the lookout cliff. Here is where they come out to lay in the sand. Last time I went, there were about 25 of them, crawling over each other to get the best spot. They are hard to spot sometimes, they look just like rocks on the beach. But once you spot one, then you can’t miss them.  All in all, put this spot on your to do list in Maui.

                                                                               Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles

What you need to write a book

Last year before I retired, I wondered what I would do when I didn’t have to do the daily grind anymore. I secretly wanted to write a book, or something related to the internet, so I went out and bought a very nice touch desktop computer, a beautiful desk, comfy stool, and set it up in my home office. That was in Minnesota, June 2016.  My excuse to buy the stuff was for the kids to use for school.  All summer they played Minecraft and other stuff, and we did use it for schoolwork when I home schooled them for a month and a half before they moved to Maui with my Ex. I stayed back for a couple of months after they moved over. That couple of months alone was my chance to really hit it writing. I never wrote one word.

Everyday I went to the gym, cleaned, shopped, sorted through stuff, etc.  I had absolutely no creativity to start writing anything. Maybe it was the 12 years living there, maybe fall setting in and winter coming, maybe, maybe, maybe.

Then I moved and everything changed. My house is 1/3 the size, and here is a picture of my office. I ordered a $215 HP laptop from Amazon, with Office 365 free for a year. My stool is about as uncomfortable a thing you can sit on, and the lighting is terrible. Since January I have written and published my book on How to Buy a Car, have an mostly completed memoir on Word, written a children’s picture book and waiting for the illustrations to be done, and written a rough draft of another. This is in less than 3 months. And built two websites and blog every day.

What changed is my life changed. I get inspiration from everything new, walking on the beach, listening to the birds. seeing green every day. Now I know why most artists live in interesting places. Suburbia just doesn’t cut it for me to get excited about creating.  It’s not the equipment, it’s the inspiration.

My first book

My first book is still a work in process. After Christmas I decided to get serious about writing and publishing a book. Every day after dropping the kids off at their schools, I would sit down and write. My goal was to get at least 80,000 words, which is what I had read is a good size for a non-fiction or memoir type book. I typed out everything that came to mind, all about my life, my work, likes, dislikes, secrets, funny stories, you name it. After about 5 weeks, I had hit my 80,000 words, and thought, wow I had written a book. I took a few days off from working at it, and reread it. It was horrible. Disjointed, rambling, egotistical, and self serving.

Reworking it seems like a daunting task, so I decided to go a different route. A third of what I had written was about my career, at least the last one. 28 years in the car business had taught me a thing or two, and I felt I needed to share what I had learned to help others with the process. I took the part I had already written about it, added and subtracted, and came up with my published book about how to buy a car from a dealership, called BEST BUYER BOOK. Published and sold by Amazon. In subsequent posts, I will get into more detail about going through that process of getting published.

Baldwin Beach (Picture perfect)

H.A. Baldwin Beach is on the windy, or east side of Maui about a mile from Paia, a little town known for being a tourist spot on the Road to Hana. There is a lifeguard during beach hours, also restrooms, showers, picnic area and large sports field.

This is my favorite beach on Maui, and I go there to walk about 5 days a week. This beach is fairly flat, compared to most of the others, and the sand varies from hard to very soft. Great for a workout walk, especially since round trip from end to end is about 3 miles, if you go through the woods, and walk all the way down to Paia Bay Beach.  In between that hike you will also run into Paia Secret Beach, known for clothing optional. There will definitely be a lot of different beach types to encounter along the way. Even if you skip the long hike and just stay on Baldwin Beach, you will still get about 40 minutes of sand walking in. There is also a lot of natural shade offered by the trees along the entire stretch of beach. And because it’s so big, never seems busy.

I visited Maui many times as a tourist, always staying at the big resorts on the west side ( I call them the Westworld resorts), and loved their beaches for the amenities offered by the resort, and the fact you could just walk up to your room when you wanted. I had stopped at Baldwin Beach a couple of times, and it always felt a bit awkward to be there. It is definitely a “local beach”, with all sorts of strange characters who frequent and camp out in the woods in tents, whom I have now grown to appreciate living here. Since I used to be one, I can use the word Hippies, which I feel best describes their look and carefree nature.

The south end of the beach (the Paia side) is where most of the locals hang out. Here they will be playing music, smoking pot, and the girls sometimes are without tops. You aren’t supposed to drink alcohol on any public beach, but many people do, and they won’t bother you if you don’t get rowdy.  There is also a small cove that breaks the waves, good for swimming. If you have small children, this end may not be the one for you. Then you will want to turn left at the lifeguard station, and head that direction to the more tourist part.

Since it is the windy side of the island, the waves are usually not good for swimming, but are great if you are an experienced boogey boarder. No surfers go here, but there are always wind surfers taking off from the beach. The wind can sometimes be a problem, the worst being sandblasted by the drifting sand.

At the north end of the beach is a swimming area perfect for kids. It’s called Baby Beach. There is a break wall that protects a rather large area. You can park here too, but there isn’t a parking lot or restrooms. Your restroom is the water.

I have never seen a whale on this side during season, but there are always lots of big Sea Turtles. They crawl up on both ends of the beach to warm in the sand and lay eggs. You can see them swimming in the water between both ends every day. The rule is to stay at least ten feet from them, and never touch them. They don’t seem to mind people and dogs (of which there are plenty), and you can walk right by one and they won’t even look up.

Sea Turtle resting by Baby Beach.