Hawaii Trip 2008 (part 1 LA and The Big Island)

November 5, 2008 at 3:17 pm (Travel, Uncategorized) (, , , )

We are back from our trip to Hawaii.  We arrived in LA on Oct. 25th and left the following afternoon for Hawaii.  We were there until Nov. 2nd at night and arrived back in Miami on Nov. 3rd.

The bad bews – I gained 4 pounds.  The good news – I don’t care!!

10/25: Marc arrived from Austin, TX and I met him in LA both in the morning.  We had lunch at Mario Batali’s restaurant Pizzeria Mozza which was absolutely fabulous!!!!!!! We didn’t really do a lot we had both been to LA so we didn’t have any need for sightseeing.  We had dinner at In N Out Burger – very exciting I know.

10/26: We met up with my cousin, Ferdie at the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market and walked around.  It was a beautifl day so it was nice to just wander around outside.  From there we went to lunch at an omelette place which was yummy.  We walked around some more then Marc and I headed for the airport.  First we made a pit stop at Sprinkles, the famous cupcake place in Beverly Hills.  The cupcakes looked amazing and we got 6.  We had 1 on the plane and then the rest in the days following.  The first was a marshmallow, then vanilla milk chocolate, vanilla for marc, cinnamon sugar for me, chocolate, black & white, they were good at first then they got very dry very fast.  And honestly, I was disappointed, I thought they would be better.  They were good, but not great.  Anyway, we boarded our flight and headed for Hawaii.  Nothing exciting about the flight.  It was just over 5 hours from LA to Kona.  We arrived around 8:30 and rented a car then headed to dinner.  Most  things close early and we had very few options so we went to a place called Quinns which was open until 11.  It was good.  Next we checked into our hotel which was beautiful and we had a waterfront room.  The room itself was not great – the carpets were grungy and the bathroom was not too nice.  The hotel needed some serious upgrading.  I went on the balcony and could see something in the water below.  marc went to the front desk to see if they had any other rooms available and I went for a closer look at the marine life.  Turns out  they were Manta Rays – they were HUGE! At least a 6 foot wingspan.  There were 4 of them just playing in the ocean.  So pretty.  Marc went to a few other rooms and they were all the same, in need of renovation, so we stayed where we were.

10/27: Our frist full day in Hawaii we got in the car and drove! We stopped first at a scenic point not too far from our hotel to take pics of our hotel.  Next we drove towards the Hamakua Coast.  We stopped at Waipio Valley Overlook.  It’s a beautiful spot overlooking a valley and a black sand beach.  The only way to get down is with a four wheel drive car or by walking and there was no way we were walking – it was steep and very high.  We were content to enjoy from above.  We got back in the car and drove through the town of Waimea and had lunch there.  Theentire drive was gorgeous!! Winding roads through valleys and mountains.  We then stopped at Laupahoehoe which was destroyed by a Tsunami in 1946 Tsunami.  We walked around on the rocks and what used to be the pier.  There was a memorial there to the victims.  From there we went to Akaka Falls – this was a mile long hike into a rainforest that took us past 2 waterfalls – Akaka and smaller Kahuna.   We then drove into Hilo and walked around for a bit.

It was getting close to sunset so we headed towards Mauna Kea which was our destination for the evening.  It started getting dark as we made the hour long drive up the mountain.  It was a white knuckle drive.  It was a two-lane road with no lights up a mountain and it was almost dark.  At one point we went through the cloud layer so we could hardly see in front of us.  I was holding my breath at times.  Finally we made it to the visitors center at Mauna Kea which was almost 1000 ft elevation.  That was as high as we were going, the peak was another 400 feet but we would have needed parkas and to join a tour so we skipped it.  The visitors center was equipped was telesopes all pointed at a different star or planet.  Mauna Kea is one of the foremost spots in the world for astronomers.  At the peak there are 13 observaroties where astronomers view the heavens and make new discoveries.  It was amazing frm where we were.  We could see millions of stars.  One of the astronomers there pointed out the various constellations and planets and even a star in another galaxy! We also saw a satellite moving and an asteroid.  It was so cool!! From there we made the harrowing dive down the opposite side of the mountain back into Kona and we stopped for a quick late dinner at Wendy’s before getting to bed.

10/28: Volcano Day!! The only thing I realy wanted to do in Hawaii was see Mt Kilauea so I was so excited to be doing this.  We headed out in the morning and stopped for some banana bread at a local bakery.  I don’t like banana anything so I got one that supposedly did not have a strong banana flavor.  It was ok.  We went to Kaleakakua Bay and sat eating our bread there.  There was a little puppy there who I assme was waiting while his owner went snorkeling.  We could see the Captan Cook Monument in the distance.  The puppy hung out with us and I ended up giving him a lot of my banana bread, he enjoyed it more than I did.  did I mention how cute he was?  After some pics we were on our way once again.  We stopped at Punaluu Black Sand Beach.  There was a group of people doing Tai Chi on the beach and it was neat to watch them.  We climbed on the rocks a bit and took some pictures and admired the scenery and then cotinued on our way.  The drive was so amazing.  We wold drive through lush green trees and beautiful flowers.  Past cliffs and crashing ocean waves.  Then all of a sudden – black rock.  That was where the lava flows were.  We passed several all from Mauna Loa and from 1837 – 1950.  We got out a couple times just to look around!! As we were approaching Volcanoes Nat’l Park, we started seeing a huge plume of smoke.  Marc wonderedif that was coming from the volcano.  I said there was no way b/c it was too big it must be coming from a fire somewhere.  As we got even closer, it became apparent that it was indeed coming from the park.  When we pulled into the park there were signs everywhere warning of increased volcanin activity and saying that the roads around the crater were closed.  We went to the visitors center to see where we could go.  We spoke to one of the rangers who gave us a good plan for the visit.  As we were browsing inthe gift shop, Marc overheard a radio transmission that said they were opening a portion of the road along crater rim drive but didn’t know who long it would remain open.  We jumped in the car and headed straight there.  It was open to the Jaggar Museum which is the site of the USGS research facility.  We got out of our car and could not believe the eerie quiet.  All we heard was the hiss of the gases spewing out of the cater in the middle of kilauea caldera.  It really gives you a sense of creation and of how the earth is alive and “breathing”  It was so amazing.  We just watched it.  All around the crater was desolate landscape.  It looked like a lunar landscape.  It was dryand rocky and barren as far s the eye could see.  And everywhere were these small steam vents releasing gas into the air.  Once we were finished looking and decided that breathing volcaninc gases for any longer was not a smart thing to do we got back in the car and went back in the direction of the visitors center since the rest of the road was closed.  We stopped at the steam vents along the way and felt the ho steam being released from the earth.  At this point we decided we needed to eat lunch before we continued our visit.  We drove into the town aptly named Volcano and had lunch at a pizza place.  We then returned to the park and headed down Chain of Craters Road which ended at the site of the former town of Kalapana which was destroyed by lava in 1990.  It was an amazing drive past more lava flows and then down a mountain ending at the ocean.  We parked the car and walked along the road until the spot where the road was covered by lava.  It was amazing to see that there had once been a road there that continued but was now buried.  There was a sign that said Road Closed that had been buried partialy by lava.  We walked along the lava as far as we were allowed to go.  In the distance we could see a large cloud rising out of the ocean marking the spot where lava was flowing into the ocean.  It was beginning to get dark and we headed out b/c they allow the last car into the lave viewing area at 8pm and it was a long drive.  As we approached the viewing area, we could see the red cloud rising and to our right we could see the lava itself flowing down the mountain.  We got to the lava viewing area parking and it was already dark.  We got our flashlight and got out and headed to where the lava started.  It was pitch black, there was reflective tape on the lave marking the trail and we had only our flashlight to guide us along the half mile walk over the rocky terrain.  It was not an easy walk.  We arrived at the end and could hear only the sounds of the waves crashing and the roar of the ckoud rising from the molten lava meeting with the cool Pacific waters.  It looked like fire rising out of the water.  It was an awesome site.  I sat down on the lava and just watched the show.  It was truly unbelieveable and indescribeable.  I am so glad I got to see that.  Once we headed back to the car and out of there, it was late and restaurants close early.  We had a 2 hour drive back to Kona and knew that there would be nothing open at that time.  So, instead we headed the 8 miles into Hilo and ate at a really good 24-hour restaurant!! Then it was time to make the 2 hour drive back over the dark winding road.  We were both exhausted and so happy when we finally arrived back at our hotel!!

10/29 (morning): We were leaving for Oahu in the afternoon and we decided to take it easy.  We lounged around the hotel and packed our bags then headed into Kona to kill some time.  We went to a local Farmer’s Market and walked around then we went to Kona Inn Shopping Village and had lunch at a cute seaside restaurant then walked around and did some shopping and headed to the airport to catch out Hawaiian Air flight to Oahu.  The flight itself was 30 minutes long.

To be continued in Hawaii Part 2…


1 Comment

  1. Jenn said,

    Sounds like you had an amazing time!

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