Published: July 6th 2010July 6th 2010
Sunset and Surf - Kaua
Spectacular Sunsets are the order at the end of the day but this doesn't distract the surfers as they concentrate on finding the next swell
In September 2004 we finally got around to making the trip to Montana we had dreamed about taking ever since we had watched Clint Eastwood in "Rawhide"
on a Black and White TV back in the 1960s. Not that we had really given any thoughts to such exotic fantasies in those poverty-stricken years but time moves on and, despite the best efforts of successive governments to tax what I thought I had honestly earned, fortunes did improve and here we were actually on our way to see the real thing with the added bonus of it being presented in colour!
Montana was reached by placing one's trust in United Airways out of Heathrow, flying to Chicago; transferring to Denver then finally making the relatively short hop to Missoula. We stayed and toured around Montana for about 3 weeks, even sticking a toe into Wyoming when we took in Yellowstone NP. It was a glorious time and we had so many "encounters" worthy of relating which indeed I will do as the fancy takes me. However, Montana is not the focus of this report for we had also decided that we would once our allocated time was done on Mainland USA travel
The Wettest Spot on Earth
Extremes of weather around the island provide a few suprises. The washed-out sign claims this to be "The Wettest Spot on Earth"
further West and take a look at the islands of Hawaii. (Silly not to when you have gone so far and have a bit of momentum and few dollars left over, we decided)! So let's put Montana to one side and allow me to relate the most curious discovery we made when we fetched up on the island of Kaua'i.
Given our preference for more tranquil locations and having done the research it was clear that the likes of Oahu and the capital of Honolulu wasn't going to provide what we were after and it took but a little while to find the description for Kaua'i to be more in keeping with our idea of heaven.
Kaua'i was reached after one of the shortest scheduled flights we have ever taken; a whole 20 minutes from Honolulu to Lihu'e, the main airport of Kaua'i. (Hardly time to put the wheels up and down but enough time to spot the oil slick emanating from the War Grave of the USS Arizona as we lifted out of Honolulu).
Kaua'i itself was a delight and provided just what we were seeking, beautiful beaches; mountains covered with lush greenery; walking trails and, on the NW
Cliff side Trail - Kaua'i
A view from atop a muddy trail as we caught a glimpse of the ocean below
of the island a mini Grand Canyon created from the extreme climatic conditions that affect that area of the island. We discovered quiet walks, impressive gardens (another passion) and delightful people. Best of all was our accommodation, a villa in the interior owned by an ex-Pat Brit - Brian - and his German wife who's name escapes me. Sharing his nationality made for interesting conversations between us and the fact that we had lived in Germany for a number of years also gave us some connection with the lovely Frau. They also lived in the same villa but given its size and configuration meant that "our" part and theirs' was quite separate and if we chose not to interact then, so be it, no disturbance was made. Bliss.
Brian was almost a naturalised American and had lived most of his working life in California; something to do with the movie industry. A few years before our visit he had made the career change into Guesthouse owner and had settled in Kaua'i building up the property to the magnificent standard we were now enjoying. The house was fully equipped with every consideration and we felt really special as we swanned around like Royalty enjoying the facilities - a double-berth Wet-room with two power showers. Ooh, get us! - but the most intriguing aspect was a mention we had seen in his Website of the house including a "Beatles Museum". At the first opportunity we asked Brian what this was all about.
He confessed if he had any passions to which he could openly admit it was the life and times of the Beatles and since forever he had collected memorabilia, artifacts, Fanzines, indeed, anything that could be validated as being connected with the Fab Four. To this end he led us to a locked room which once the door was released allowed access to a veritable cornucopia of Beatles "stuff". The walls were covered with shelving upon which were complete collections of magazines produced by the Beatles publicity machine; LP records covering their complete career some of which had original signatures of the Beatles scrawled across them. There were two erotic lithograph prints produced by John Lennon which had been overlooked by a police raid on a gallery in London when others of the same ilk had been confiscated; costumes and other props were unboxed for our appreciation. Concert programmes were lovingly catalogued. Every aspect of their career as "the" pop group of the 60s was to be found here. However, the "piece de resistance"
was held not in this room but under a tarpaulin in the yard outside, it was the Mini that was driven by the Beatles when they were based in London. "Blimey, how did you come by this, Brian?"
Brian, when living in Los Angeles was looking for something "different" to drive other than the Monster Gas-Guzzlers favoured by the locals. His opportunity came when a collection of cars was auctioned off in an adjacent county following the death of the aged owner. Amongst the cars on offer was a Mini which nobody else showed an interest and so for little money he became the proud owner of the quirky little car with the wickerwork doors. Following the sale he was called to the auctioneer's office and presented with a box of spares and some old documents relating to its original life in England prior to export to the States. On getting the car home he took a look at the papers which included the original Logbook and, Lo, the first owner was registered as "Brian Epstein Music".
It took no time at all to find photographs of John, Paul, George and Ringo all taking their turn at some time during the Swingin' 60s seated in the driving seat. Wow, all the way from Carnaby Street to a backyard in Kaua'i. You couldn't make it up.
There are a lot of other tales to tell about Kaua'i but none stranger than this one.