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June 21st 2017
Published: June 21st 2017
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Monday, May 8, 2006We flew out of Miami at 6 AM, so that meant a middle-of-the-night ride from Englewood. I slept most of the way to Salt Lake City; we were offered only a cold sandwich on the Honolulu flight. Honolulu is amazing from the air; we marveled at the skyscrapers and caught a glimpse of the Pearl Harbor Memorial. Next was a short flight to Kauai, only 102 miles. When we arrived at the airport, we learned our luggage did not arrive with us. We decided to pick up the car and drive to the hotel; we misunderstood the clerk at the car rental desk and drove to the Lawaii Resort instead of the Kauai Beach Resorts! Finally, armed with the correct directions, we drove back to the airport, picked up our luggage and drove to our hotel. After upgrading our room (a construction view was not for us!), we found food at Korean Bar-B-Q where the combo plates are the best, and fell into bed by 9:30. We had been awake for 26 long hours!<br style="color:𛈇 font-family: verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12.8px;" />Tuesday, May 9, 2006 We had done our homework and followed the recommendation of a helicopter flight to get the lay of the land. So we booked one with Island Helicopters at 11:30. We had a souvenir shopping spree after breakfast at Wal-Mart (we were intrigued by the SPAM menu), and then visited the Kauai Museum in downtown Lihue where we found quaint, interesting history displays. A gorgeous Mother's Day orchid sale was in progress out on the grounds; I wished I could buy some! Back at the airport, we boarded our copter with newlyweds, the male half of whom promptly became airsick! But the spectacular views: stunning mountains, waterfalls, cliffs plunging into the sea—we were thrilled by all of it. For lunch we ate at Bubba’s Burgers whose motto: "We will sell no burger for less than a can of dog food!" should have been a clue as to the price of this lunch! Believe me, you could eat a case of dog food for what we paid for that meal! Of course, we couldn’t leave without a hat with Bubba’s other motto emblazoned on it: “We cheat tourists, drunks, and attorneys.” With full bellies, we were eager to explore more and drove as far to the east and north along the coastline until the roads ended. There were plenty of beach stops along the way and Bob investigated a small cave. The trip was tedious due to the number of one-lane bridges which the government refuses to replace, thereby preventing further development. We noticed the lack of billboards and deduced this island is on the right track! Because we had blown the budget on lunch, we decided on a Safeway stop for sandwich stuff for dinner. Wednesday, May 10, 2006Today we splurged on breakfast at Kilohana, a 20’s era sugar plantation just outside Lihue. It’s only one of two sugar plantations left in Hawaii, this family-owned one in Kauai and one on Mauai. The grounds and mansion are enormous; the plantation even has its own railroad connection. The food was average, overpriced as is every necessity on this island. If you don’t have to eat or drive or sleep in a bed, you could probably live pretty cheap. In a moment of stupidity, we were talked into a timeshare presentation in exchange for a complimentary breakfast and luau. Will we ever learn? After leaving Kilohana, we drove through the picturesque Tree Tunnel made of 500 eucalyptus trees donated by Walter McBryde in the early 1900s. Our next stop was the Kauai Coffee Company; the production of sugar was phased out in the 1990’s, yielding to coffee which was assumed to be more profitable. Time hasn’t proven this to be true. We took a short tour and purchased some expensive grounds for our coffee-drinking daughters. Next stop was the piece de resistance: the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific” as Mark Twain called Waimea Canyon. And he was not wrong! This wonder of the Hawaiian Islands is 3600 feet deep, two miles wide and ten miles long. The sides of the cliffs are deeply eroded with colorful soil: green, red, brown hues and frequent waterfalls make it so picturesque! Waimea means red water and the soil stains everything. We stopped at several lookout points, also at Koke’e State Park which is 4000’ above sea level. The Natural History Museum there has great displays. Our dinner choice was Thai, so we had great mango fish and stir fry at the aptly named King and I in Kapa’a. Thursday, May 11, 2006Today we drove to Spouting Horn, a place on the south shore where the ocean bursts up through the rocks. It was much larger when the nearby sugar plantation decided to dynamite the hole to close it up (the ocean spray was ruining the crop). It is still quite impressive and well visited. We drove to a few other beaches, but the intermittent rain kept us in the car more often than not. We ended at Glass Beach, near Waimea, where a local bottling company disposed of their broken glass on the beach. At first glance, it appears ugly with the industrial part of 'Ele’ele, huge gasoline tanks looming in the background. But when we got closer and saw the gorgeous tapestry of the multi-colored glass on the sand, the unique beauty of this beach became apparent. Nearby is a Japanese cemetery, high on a cliff overlooking the ocean; I wondered if it faced Japan. With more rain, we were forced to visit the Red Dirt T-Shirt Outlet. This company was nearly bankrupted when Hurricane Iniki struck Kauai in 1992 (right after Andrew in Florida). Everyone’s clothes were stained by the water contaminated with the red mud, so this company decided to purposely stain their t-shirts and sell them! Suffice it to say, we had to buy a few (let’s hope the recipients wash them LOTS—alone—before throwing them in with the good stuff!). We took the Lihue bypass and stumbled onto the most beautiful scenery with no traffic and ended in Nawiliwili Harbor where the cruise ships dock. Back at our room, we prepared for the luau. Before the feast, we were treated to a myriad of festivities: wagon rides (drawn by Clydesdales), hula dance lessons, drumming, palm frond weaving, a game played with balls on strings. Soon the imu ceremony began; this is the unearthing of the pig which has been roasting all day. The meal consisted of salad, pig, mahi mahi, salmon, beef, chicken, sweet potatoes, noodles, macaroni salad, rolls, rice pudding, assorted cakes, drinks, and poi, definitely an acquired taste! After the meal we were treated to many hula numbers by both female and male dancers (originally only males danced the hula), lots of live music and a fire-wielding male dancer. Friday, May 12, 2006Today we treated ourselves to breakfast at the hotel before suffering through the time-share presentation. We vow to NEVER subject ourselves to this torture again! Then we drove to Kukuiolono Park which is situated on a hill with a gorgeous view; it almost made us wish we were golfers. This land was donated by Walter McBryde, a sugar magnate, who is buried in the middle of his sacred Japanese garden near the 8th tee. Of course, we just had to check out Hanapepe Town, the home of Lilo and Stitch. It has a bridge over the river that Bob delighted in getting the maximum swing for the buck. By afternoon, we were back in Port Allen waiting to take a wonderful catamaran ride to the Na Pali Coast with Kauai Sea Tours. This 60-ft. boat afforded us a tremendous ride over very rough waters. The four-man crew, all young and full of fun, had Bob enjoying the bouncing ride right along with them. However, there were lots of buckets put to use by most of the other passengers; thank goodness we had our sea legs! The afternoon meal was as good as that served at the luau and we couldn’t have enjoyed ourselves any more. Think Jurassic Park, South Pacific and King Kong (where all were filmed) and you’ve seen the Na Pali Coast. By the time we were back in port, the full moon was above us. What a sight! Saturday, May 13, 2006Today we took our SECOND helicopter ride! The first was spoiled by having windows and doors (bad for picture taking), so, of course, my husband had decided we must have another. Living on the edge is in his nature and Jack Harter Helicopters is the only company (and there are dozens) that flies with the DOORS OFF. By 8:30 AM, I was wedged between the pilot and an elderly woman (I am almost 63 and anyone who looks older than me is elderly). Bless her heart, I would never sit in her spot; she was hanging out the door, holding the handle with her left hand and her camera with her right. I kept my arms crossed so as not to bump our pilot. Bob sat in back taking a jillion pictures next to the elderly husband. Of course, we were all strapped in. This pilot was so much more knowledgeable than the first and, in spite of the precarious nature of the ride, I quite enjoyed it. The sight of Mount Wai’ale’ale (the wettest spot on earth with 440 inches of rain a year!), Wailua Falls, dropping 173 feet into a 33-ft. deep pool, and the magnificent Na Pali Coast from the air is too thrilling for words. Next we headed north, stopped at Kilauea Lighthouse, a national wildlife refuge teeming with birds. We ended at Anini Beach which turned out to be a good choice. We snorkeled and marveled at the gorgeous reef fish. On the way home, we stopped Opaeka’a Falls, another Kodak moment. Then we drove to the Kamokila Hawaiian Village, an off-the-radar location featuring native huts, an assembly house, a shaman’s house in three lush acres beside the river across from the falls. In what turned out to be a bad decision, we chose Kentucky Fried Chicken for dinner. We couldn’t figure out how a dinner for a family of five could cost $50 with all those free-range chickens running around!Sunday, May 14, 2006We drove back to Anini Beach after stopping at Coconut Marketplace for breakfast and a few more trinkets. Thank goodness Bob had bought another suitcase at the Salvation Army Store; it was soon filled! At Anini we met a wonderful family with four children; they insisted we share their Mother’s Day meal and we talked most of the afternoon. Bob snorkeled again, then we left to drive up the North Coast for the last time. Bob found a silver crucifix in the dry cave, in the dark, yet! We stopped in Hanalei and ate the WORST food ever at Hanalei Mixed Plate Restaurant. Then we returned to the hotel to pack. Monday, May 15, 2006After checking out of Kauai Beach Resorts, we headed to the nearest Burger King, ready for some real, edible food! Next we took every side road we thought we might have missed, snapped a few last pics and were back at the airport by 2 PM. We lost a day (crossing the International Dateline) and it was 3 PM Tuesday when we finally arrived back in Englewood. Because we live in the tropics, Hawaii was never on our bucket list, but we think we chose the best of the islands if one is all you can see. It’s aptly named the Garden Island, has more miles of beach than any other in the chain, and canyons, waterfalls, mountains abound. And Conde Nast declares it the “friendliest” island of all because its population is so doggone happy. Aloha and Mahalo!![

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