Hawaii 2008

25th Anniversary Trip

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Hawaii 2008 >


Saturday, May 10

3:00 a.m.  Alarm goes off.  Tried to go to sleep about 11pm.  Rudely awaken by

thunder and lightening shaking the house about midnight, so we didn’t get much sleep.

3:30 a.m.  In the car, drive to Charlotte, 140 miles.  Get there about 6, with a stop for biscuits on the way.

Our 7:40 flight leaves about 8:40.  Get off the plane in Phoenix at 10:30.  Our connection to Honolulu is scheduled for 10:35.  2 concourses away, of course.  We made it.  The 757 from CLT-PHX was reasonably comfortable.  The 757 from PHX-HNL was NOT.  Knees hit the seat in front unless I sat up like a stiff board.  Wonderful—6 /12 hrs of this!

2:00 pm HT, land in Honolulu a little early.   Spend a couple hours at the airport relaxing this time.  Catch a Hawaiian Air flight to Kona at 4:40.  The little 717 was more comfy than the big plan coming over.

5:20 pm, land at Kona.  Neat little open air airport.  Even though it’s raining it’s just a short step to get under a big shelter.  Everything is outside—ticket counters, baggage claim, etc.  Catch shuttle to Budget and get our Pontiac G6, avoiding the constant but friendly low pressure to upgrade to the Hummer or a Jeep.

5:52 pm, leave Kona airport (I actually looked at my watch).  It’s cloudy and light rain.  Drive the 100 miles to Volcanoe where we’re staying (Hale Ohai cottages).  Plan to just catch some fast food, but don’t see anything along the main road until ????, just before Captain Cook.  Sandy’s drive in ain’t really a drive in, but it was good and cheap.  Can’t really recommend the shrimp sandwich (it was fine), but the barbeque rib sandwich was good.  Not too friendly staff though—the lady just sneered at us.   Did pass the golden arches about a mile up the road—only chain we saw.

8:30 pm, arrive at the cottage.  The drive was off and on rain, road is sometimes slow and curvy (20-30 mph), then open and straight (55+), repeat.  Gets dark around 7pm.

9:00 pm, hit the sack.  It’s chilly, so I started the gas heater when we got here, but turned it off when going to bed.  The bed is great and the 2 comforters are warm and cozy!

Sunday, May 11

7:00 am, rise and shine.  Couldn’t sleep anymore, but then it’s chilly (55), rain is ticking on the metal roof, and the bed is warm and comfy.  But want to get on Hawaii Time ASAP, so force ourselves out.   Coffee, juice, bananas, nut bread and some tropical fruit for breakfast—they stock the little fridge the night before.

Spent all day in Hawaii Volcanoes Nat’l Park.  Our cottage is about 3 miles from the entrance.

~8am.  Started at the vistors center, of course.  Rain has pretty much stopped.  Had fun with a ranger, “Would you like the ranger talk?”  I was thinking a bunch of people and said no thanks, then started asking questions.  After about 10 minutes he says, “How about I just do the regular talk and that might answer your questions,” and off he goes with it…  Apparently the 1st question was meant for just the 2 of us and not a crowd!  Very nice and personable.

Went south along the crater road a couple miles to the Jaggar Museum.   Lots of steam and gases from the vent.  The crater road is closed along the south rim past the Museum because of the activity. 

~11:30 Go out to Volcanoe Village, and have lunch at the Lava Café.  Decent sandwiches.

Back to the park, then down the chain of craters road.

The 1st crater is really cool!  The rest are cool.  Oh, the Thurston Lava tube is neat.  Nice trail thru tropical forest and then thru the lava tube.   Not so awe inspiring, but neat.

No activity at the end of Chain of Craters, but awesome nonetheless.  Crawled around on lava flows a bit.

Took the Hilina Pali Road on the way back.  A 9 mile dead end to a fantastic overlook of the coast.  (Pali means cliff).  When they say 1 lane road they mean it.  At least an hr driving in and out.  The scenery along the way is interesting if not dramatic.

~5:30 Head towards Hilo to the lava viewing area.  Find a golden arches for supper, since we just wanted a quick bite.  Hwy 130 turns off a few mile outside of Hilo to the viewing area.  As you approach the viewing area the “road” crosses lava flows.  Folks have rebuilt on top of flow!  Kinda surreal.

~6:45 Get to viewing area at the end of 130.  A big production with cops, traffic guys, drink stands, and EMTs.  First walk past the cars already there, then about 20 minutes across the lava flow.  “If you go beyond the yellow tape you will be arrested!”

Probably a mile or so from where the lava is actually entering the ocean.  Lots of nice red as it got darker, with an occasional visible splatter of lava.

Left about 8pm.  Always had rain between the park and Hilo.  Went to Jaggar Museum to see the glowing vent, but was socked in cloud.

Monday, May 14

Up around 7:30.  Went to the office to check email—wireless won’t connect in the cottage.

Headed south around 9:00.  Stopped at the black sands beach, kinda a bust.  Small, not that pretty, rough looking locals drinking beer in the pickup (at 10am), and then the rain came back in. 

Then to south point, the southern most point in the U.S.  This is way cool.  Open ranch land to the sea.  Another 1 lane road for 5+ miles. 

Lunch at the Punalu’u Bake Shop in Na’alehu.  Great sandwiches and pastries!  Claims to be the “Southernmost  bakery in the U.S.”  Don’t know if these claims include territories or not—will have to check a globe.

Head back north, past the cottage, on to Hilo and beyond.

Explore the shoreline up to the Waipi’o Valley overlook. 

Akaka falls along the way is the largest “drive up” falls in Hawaii.  Also stopped at the Kolekole park, once wiped out by a tsunami.

At the Waipi’o Overlook there’s a road down to the valley at a 25% grade.  We walked down a few hundreds hards, and no, they’re not exaggerating.  We just enjoyed the overlook.

Turn around at 5:45.  Eat at Hilo Bay Grill.  EXCELLENT!  Ribs melted in you mouth (so did the Ribeye).

Stop by Jaggar Museum before the cottage and Ooooo, the glowing vent is so cool!

Home around 9 and hit the sack.

Tuesday, May 13

It’s 7:00 am and we’re all showered.  All the good exercise makes you go to bed early, and then sleep well.

They leave breakfast for you the night before—nut bread, little bananas, papayas or guava, and fresh juice.  We take our time and head for Hilo about 8:00.  Get there a little before 9 and check out the gardens by the harbor.  Then to the airport for our 10:30 flight.  Gotta love these airports—small and everything is so quick and easy.  Michael, the owner of the Ohia Cottages is on the same flight.  Really nice guy.  The flight is a 50 seater commuter jet.

The Go! “terminal” at Honolulu is interesting, a door into a stark concrete walled room.  But the flights are great.  We have a couple hours so we go into the main terminal for lunch.  Then back to where we got off the plane to check in—it’s basically a computer sitting on a cart.  Then wait to get escorted to the “commuter terminal”, walking across the tarmack.  The flight from Honolulu to Molokai is a single prop, 9 passenger plane.  Provides great viewing of the islands.  Make a steep descent with a hard turn and hit the runway!  Great fun!  Left 20 minutes early so got to Molokai about 10 minutes after we were scheduled to leave HNL.

Our “compact” car from Dollar is a Dodge Avenger.  Something wrong with the brakes or wheel bearings so we exchange it the next day (Chrysler Sebring).

It’s about 20 miles from the airport to the condo, 35-45mph.  The town of Kaunakakai is small and not so pretty, but interesting.  Condo complex looks OK, nothing special, but the unit is done VERY nicely.  Marble tile (probably faux) floor, granite counter top, kitchen is equipped with EVERYTHING.  Beach towels, a little beach shelter, mask and fins, even flip flops if you need them.  Binoculars and telescope.  And you can throw a stone in the ocean from the 3rd floor balcony.  View Maui and Lanai about 8-10 miles across the water.

Get settled, then drive back to town for supper and a few things for the fridge.  Pizza at the “Molokai Pizza Café” is very good.  Thick, but light and fluffy crust.  Have a glass of wine on the balcony as the sun sets, in bed by 9.

Wednesday, May 14

Sherri’s up at 5:30 for the sunset, John by 6!  Eat bananas and bread with jelly for breakfast.  Head out about 8:00 for the east end of the island.  The road to the Halawa Valley is very narrow and winding and breathtaking.  First along the southern coastline, then up and over the ridge, then down into the valley where the river meets the sea.  Views of the 2 waterfalls about 2 miles up the valley.  Hope to hike up there later this week.

After hanging out there awhile, head back towards town and catch lunch at the Paddler’s Café.  Mahi mahi sandwich and tuna melt are good.  Then to the airport to get a different car.  Kept going west to the west end of the island.  Explored the area—talk about a development plan gone bust.  There’s some nice places, but others are abandoned and boarded up.  Beautiful 3 mile long Papohaku Beach—we saw 6 other people, end to end.  Will have to go back for a sunset.  The surf was up and the beach steep, so didn’t go in the water.  Looks like it would need to be pretty calm.

Back the other way, detoured to the Palaau State Park overlook of the Kalaupapa peninsula and the phallic rock.  Then supper at the Kualapu’u Cook House.  GREAT Teriayki chicken and stir fry.  Met the owners of our condo (their picture is in the bedroom)  We also knew they were on the island, and recognized them in the restaurant—Sherri was brave enough to approach them and ask.

Went down to the wharf for sunset—pretty though not spectacular.  Then a quick grocery stop and back to the condo by 8 or so.

Thursday, May 15

7:20 am  Leave the condo to get to the mule stables by 8:00.  Get there about 10 min early.  Have a brief orientation, then on the mules.  Not too far down the 3.5 mile trail we head down the 1664 ft cliff, 29 switchbacks along the way.  Try very hard not to look down at the trail.  The mule seems to like to walk on the OUTSIDE of the trail.  When we get to the bottom I say to someone “Perhaps the most incredibly awesome and incredibly terrifying experience of my life!”

The tour of the Kalaupapa Peninsula is on an old school bus.  There are 27 patients left in the colony.  In 1969 they had the choice of leaving or staying.  Their housing and meals are provided by the state.  There are also about 40 park service employees and about 40 employees of the state dept of health.  Vehicles include a Model A truck and new Mustang.  You can not take pictures of the residents, out of respect for their privacy.  Children under 16 are not allowed, also out of respect for their history.  Many were removed from their families as children, and many had their children removed from them.

Ate lunch at the site of the original colony.  Ate with Rod Brind'Amour’s agent (captain of the Hurricanes).   He started saying he overheard someone saying something about “the most awesome and most terrifying experience…”  Yup, that was me!  He, his wife, and another lady had signed up for the hike in, fly out package.  Unfortunately the day before a plane blew a tire on landing and came within 20 ft of going over the edge of the runway into the ocean.  They couldn’t move the plane off the runway so it was closed indefinitely.  They were trying to get parts in and haul them down by mule.  So everyone who intended to fly out had to hike back out instead. 

There was a couple who was stuck there the night before and couldn’t hike out because of the husband’s heart condition.  I overheard someone saying it would be $3k for a helicopter.  The water was too rough to get a boat in.  Found out on our way up that the mule ride folks apparently took them out while we were on our tour.

2:00 Back at the stables.  Drove back into town, stopped at the visitors center—1st time it was open when we’ve been by there (twice a day).  Checked out options for hiking the Halawa Valley and snorkeling.  Had some Dave’s ice cream.  Got groceries for dinner.  Decided to sign up for a snorkeling trip on Sat (7am).

5:00 Back at the condo.  Cooked sirloin strips with onions and mushrooms on rice.

Friday, May 16

Slept in till 7:30.  Took our time getting going.

10:00 Drove back to town, then up the road to the Nature Conservancy’s Kamakou Preserve (4 wheel drive only).  Went 5 miles then decided to turn around.  The clouds ahead were getting dark, and did not want to get caught in any rain.  We had been told that we could probably make it the 16.8 miles to a 3500 ft high lookout, but the VOG has been so bad it was questionable that there would be a view anyways.  And from what we could tell the Mt tops were in the clouds.  Maybe next time!  And we’ll rent a 4x4, might be less exciting, but more prudent.

11:45 Lunch at the Cook House.  Don’t know what they do to the burgers but they’re great….  Stopped at Molokai Fish & Dive to pick up the snorkeling gear for tomorrow—we just meet them at the boat.  Had to wait awhile, but that seems to be how things are around here.  Decided to spend the afternoon relaxing at the condo.

5:30 Head to Hotel Molokai for dinner.  Have 6:30 reservations.  There’s a group of local uke and guitar players that play there every Friday.  Make it for the last 2 songs.  Have a drink at the bar, then a seaside dinner complete with tiki torches and palm trees overhanging the water.  They have a band playing “hawaiian rock” maybe???  Atmosphere was great, food good (prime rib and Ono), service good.  A very nice type of cheesy polynesian.  But it was a great evening all around.  Bedtime around 9.

Saturday, May 17

Up before 5:30.  Leave around 6:20 to be at the boat for snorkeling by 6:45.  Tim is the owner of Molokai Fish & Dive, a native Minnesotan who has been doing this for 8 years.  Just the 2 of us on the trip, with Tim and Capt Clay, a native Molokian.  Go on the outside of the 30 mile reef.  Wonderful time, beautiful coral and countless different fish.  Saw a couple turtles, an octopus, and a small ray (I think).  Was pretty calm when we started, but the wind and swell picked up so that we were snorkeling in white caps by the end.  Makes for more work and stirs up the water a little (but still great!).

10:00 am Back at the condo to change and shower.  We can see Lanai and Maui today, 8-10 miles away.  Haven’t seen them since the first day because the VOG has been so bad.  Those deep blue skies have looked more like hazy NC summer skies.  Didn’t realize it could be a problem on the other islands.  Guess it followed us from the big island.

11:00 am.  Head to the Papohaku Beach on the west end for the Ka Hula Pico festival, celebrating the birthplace of the hula dance.  Catch a little hula, a couple bands, grilled “BBQ” teryaki chicken for lunch, walk on the beach.

Afternoon, head down the 4x4 road off of Farrington Ave, to the Moomomi Preserve on the north coast.  OK in the rental car if you’re careful about the clearance, about 2.5 miles.  Could be trouble if wet.  Gorgeous coastline.

Do another quit pass to the Kalaupapa Lookout on the way back, since the VOG is considerable better.  Stop and pick up fixings for spaghetti then back to the condo by 5:30 or so.

Sunday, May 18

I’m up by 6:30.  Lazy morning packing and relaxing.  Great rolls for breakfast that Sherri had picked up from the bakery in town.

11:00  Close up and say goodbye to Wavecrest A304.  Hope we make it back someday.  Lunch at the bakery (actually eggs and cornedbeef hash). 

Have a 2:20 flight to Kauai.  But all flights go thru Honolulu.  Get to the airport shortly after 1:00, after going back up to the Kalaupapa lookup just the waste some time.

We've found that inter-island flights can be interesting.  When checking in at Molokai, just of list of names (nine), no boarding passes, no security.  Told we had to re-check in for our connecting flight in Honolulu because they have no connection to the Honolulu system.  OK, no problem.

Land in Honolulu, get escorted across the tarmac thru a gate at the end of the terminal onto a sidewalk.  Go around the end and in the front door of the terminal.  Guess it's because we didn't go thru security.  We have about 40 min. till our connection, there's a line a mile long for the counter--ughhh.  But we get directed to an automated check-in machine, great!  But it won't accept our reservation, WHAT??   An agent comes by and explains the flight is full, and we're not on it, despite whatever, etc.  But they'll put us up overnight in Honolulu and get us on a morning flight, but don't tell the other (non)passengers, because it's only because we had a connection with them.

OK, so she puts us at the front of the ticket counter line.  Go thru the explanation with that agent, when she actually asks our names--oh, what's the problem, you're already checked-in for the flight--it's boarding now!  So get boarding passes, hurry thru security, and make the flight—although it actually didn't board for 1/2 hr.  Yeh!  Only thing we can figure is that the lady in Molokai actually called ahead to let them know we were coming in.  As I said to Sherri several times, there is a reason why this airline was 1/2 the price of the others!

4:45 (or so) Land at the Lihue airport on Kauai.  Most of the gates actually have jet ways (but not ours).  Shuttle to Thrifty for the car, a Dodge Avenger again.  This one seems to run fine.

5:30 Less than 15 mins from the airport to the condo.  Settle in then to the Wailua Family Restaurant for dinner.  The Tempura Shrimp is great.  Sherri’s soup & salad bar looked about average.  Boy we can tell prices are a lot higher.  Although gas was 4.48 on Molokai, and about 4.00 here.  Then to the Safeway for a few groceries.  Prices a lot higher in the stores too.

Monday, May 19

Slept in past 7:00.  Drove north up to coast to about Anahola, checking out beaches along the way.  Lunch at Duane’s Ono Char Burger along the highway near Anahola, a little walkup roadside joint next to a little store.  Came back to the condo after lunch and relaxed.

Went over to Lightwave Pottery, Dean and Malone McRaine’s shop, around 4.  Malone is Dad’s cousin, Uncle Ted and Aunt Doris’ daughter.  Talked till about 6—planning dinner with them for Thurs. night.

Supper at the Olympic Cafe in downtown Kapa’a.  Food OK, nice second story balcony overlooking the main drag.

Tuesday, May 20

Slept in AGAIN past 7:00.  Headed south today, around 9:00.  Drove up the Waimea Canyon.  Gorgeous, when the clouds parted a little.  Never did get a view of the coast at the end the the 20 mile road.  That’s in Koke’e State Park.  Had lunch at the Koke’e Lodge, then drove to the end of the road again, without any luck.  Might try again tomorrow. 

Drove down the 4 mile road to the Navy’s Missile tracking station—couldn’t talk our way in to see the cliff it sits on, but the guard was nice.  Found a place to pull over and got a quick view down a canyon to the sea before the cloads rolled in again.  It’s a pretty narrow road and drops 2000’ in the 4 miles, so that’s about a 9% grade most of the way.

Rained all the way back to the coast.  Shopped in Waimea for Hawaiian shirts and Kauai coffee.  Turned right and went all the way to Polihole beach at the western end of the road.  Missed the turn and ended up at the gate to Ka Boom Mt., a weapons depot.  Found the road and did the 5 miles down the dirt trail bit again.  Not too bad for a regular car though.

Got the beach around 4 and hung out for the sunset until 7:30 or so.  This is where the southern beaches meet the Na Pali coast.  Ni’ihau 17 miles across the water.  See pics for cliffs, beach, and sunset.

Ended up at McDonald’s in Port Allen about 8:30, just because it was so late.  Made it home by 9:30.

Wednesday, May 21

5:15 Rise and shine.

6:00 On the road to Port Allen.

6:45 At the air strip for the powered hang glider flight with Birds in Paradise.

All I can say is WOW!  Fly up the coast to Tunnels Beach on the north side.  Then back over the Waimea Canyon.  The east side of the island is socked in clouds and rain, but the west is clear and calm.  We fly around inside the Nu’alolo valley—and down and out the S shaped entrance!  We were cruising at 40-50 kts and he puts us in a 90 kt dive, inside the canyon!  What a rush.

You fly with an instructor. There were 3 trikes flying, the other was Joel, an instructor in training flying his 1st solo flight in this aircraft. I got to fly a brand new trike, certified the day before!  I fly with Jim Gaither, Sherri with Jerry, the owner.  It's a lesson--because the FAA doesn't have a commercial license for "weight controlled" aircraft they can't take paying passengers.  But they're all certified flight instructors, so they can give you a lesson! I flew some, but it's a little awkward from the back seat with your arms outstretched, so I just sat back and enjoyed most of

the time.

Absolutely do the 90 min. flight to get all the way up the Na Pali coast.  And get the early flight as the winds are most likely to be favorable.  Apparently most flights don’t get to go into the canyons like we did because of the wind.

9:30 or so.  Leave the air strip after waiting about ½ hr for our DVD.  They had generator issues (someone left the AC on) and it was 140 pics instead of the usual 40-50.  Stopped at Red Dirt shirts for souviners.  Took our time heading back towards Lihue, looking for a restaurant in Poipu that isn’t there anymore.  So we ate lunch at Duke’s Canoe Club, at the Marriott in Nawiliwili (on Shane’s advise).  Observed the resort scene from the patio table, right on the beach, but we weren’t as impressed as Shane apparently was.  It was nice and good food though.

Back to the condo and took a nap.  John is wiped.  Walk to the Hula Girl restaurant, mostly because we didn’t want to drive again.  Again pretty good.

8:00 Back at the condo and have to wash clothes—ugghhh, whose idea was it to pack light anyway?

Thursday, May 22

5:15 Rise and shine (again).

6:15 Head north to Kilauea.  Park behind the Fish Market where a van picks us up and takes us to the boat at Anini Beach.  North Coast Charters (??).

On the water by about 7:30.  Boat is a 28’ rigid bottom inflatable with 14 passengers.  Travel close the shore, go into 2 sea caves, one with a collapsed roof.  Go as far as Nu’alolo Kai where we snorkel.  Not as interesting as Molokai, but still cool.  Saw a couple of parrot fish, and a couple bigger schools of yellow and black striped fish.  Several sea turtles from the boat, and a monk seal where we snorkeled.  Ran with a school of flying fish on the way back.  These fish are super cool—thought they were birds at first.

~11:45 back at beach.  Drive down to the lighthouse overlook, then back to the condo to clean up.

Sherri goes to a couple of quilt shops in the afternoon, John hangs out at the condo.

6:00 Pick up Malone and Dean at the shop and go to the Mema Thai restaurant for dinner.  Had a marvelous time.   Malone’s son Brandon is interested in the Ingersoll family history so will send him some links.

Friday, May 23

Sleep in again till 6:30 or so.  Breakfast at Eggberts, which is walking distance.  OK, nothing special.

Head up the north coast about 9:30 to the end of the road—Ke’e Beach.  Beautiful.  Laid under the trees while Sherri walked the beach.  Chickens came to say “Hi”.  Definitely want to get there early in the a.m.—we had to park a few hundred yards down the road, and that lot was full by the time we left.

Toured the Limahuli Nat’l Tropical Botanical Garden that is right before Ke’e.  They specialize in native flora, so it’s not really “spectacular”, but a very nice walk in a beautiful valley.  Stopped for shave ice at a roadside stand on the way back.  Then a quick stop at Dean and Malone’s shop for one last goodbye, to check out Puff, and to buy a piece we both liked.

Had time for a short nap before the Smith Family Luau at 4:30.  No need to get there quite that early.  Walked around their gardens for a while, and otherwise nice to hang out.  Drinks and music start at 6:00—getting there by 5:00 or even 5:30 would be fine.  Nice buffet dinner with the pig (of course), mahi mahi, beef, and chicken (choose in that order!)  The show is after dinner and ends about 9:00.

Saturday, May 24

6:30 seems to be the scheduled wake up time when there’s no particular reason to get up.  Dean had given us a mango which we had for breakfast—delicious!  They’re just beginning to ripen and he found one of the first ones for us!

Mostly packed, then drove up to Wailua falls which is right by the road.  It’s the double falls from Fantasy Island.  Stopped at a Koa Woodworking shop and marveled at the $8000 rocking chair, although they had one that wasn’t quite as beautiful for $3800.  Drove thru Lihue and Nawiliwili, then a quick stop at the condo before lunch at Scottie’s Barbeque.  Scotties is a great place—on the beach, tiered seating so there’s not a bad seat in the place.  Food was good too!  I had a mahi mahi sandwich (again) and mango smoothie.  Sherri did the pulled pork—not quite like eastern NC barbeque, but still good.

Back to condo for showers and final packing

3:45 Leave for a stop at Wally World, get gas, return the car, and on to the airport for our 6:40 flight home.  The kiosk check-in doesn’t work again, because our tickets are US Airways, but the 1st segment to Honolulu is on Hawaiian Air.  No problems, though and get to Honolulu fine.  Have an expensive burger and salad at the Honolulu airport—we have a 3 hr wait.

10:30 flight to Phoenix.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Uhhh, I forget.  It as a long flight and then a 2+ hour drive home.  Home sometime in the evening.