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  1. #11
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    Mar 2005
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    Tustin, California, United States
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    279

    Default Day 6

    Day 6 - Sunrise at Haleakala
    Sunday, June 11, 2017 - 9:20pm HST

    My alarm blasted me awake at 3:10am HST. Now why in the world would I do such a thing?

    Whelp, this is a necessary evil if you have any plans to watch the sunrise at the summit inside Haleakala National Park. Because of previous issues with parking and disorder, as of February 2017 the park now requires reservations which can be acquired on the recreation.gov website, and there's only 200 or so spots available. Ascending the summit, there's plenty of warning that you better turn around if you don't have that golden ticket reservation in hand. I donned my winter gear and started off for the park, leaving around 3:50am. With my reservation and Tri-Parks Pass, I had no problems sailing through the check-in point.

    Once past the gate, there's plenty more switchbacks to reach the top, although the incline isn't as bad as I thought it would be. Each stretch of road was a mile long, constantly entering and exiting the cloud cover still clinging to the sides of the mountain. Reaching the top, the rangers blocked off access to the peak, forcing everyone into the lower parking lot by the Visitor's Center. With 30 minutes to spare before sunrise, hundreds of people were here already (as crazy as me apparently). Unfortunately the clouds/fog were thick, but I was hopeful it would clear out.


    Haleakala National Park, HI (Maui) - Looks like I'm joining up with
    the rest of these crazies who got up super early to watch a sunrise.

    Nope, not so. Although patches of colors in the direction of the sun filled the sky, the fog refused to dissipate and mostly hindered what was supposed to be dramatic views of the landscape. As the sun made its appearance, a few of the locals began a Hawaiian chant as a hush fell over the crowd, giving a special and memorable touch to this moment in time, as obscured as it was. I tried to take pics as I could, but nothing really spectacular.


    Haleakala National Park, HI (Maui) - Whelp, the clouds
    did not cooperate, but it was still worth the experience.

    After grabbing the postcard/magnet business at the now-open Visitor's Center, I did the short hike on the neighboring Pa Ka'oao trail to the nearby summit, offering what would be awesome views of the Haleakala crater below if the blasted fog wasn't in the way. (Somebody give me a 50-foot fan to take care of this noise!) The 1/2-mile drive to the summit was also unblocked by this point so being the completist I am, ascended to the very top, where you'll find an observatory at the 10,023 ft peak. It was clear enough here to make out the peak of Mauna Kea on the big island 80 miles away, where I stood just days before.

    That's all for that. I descended and made it back to Paia by 8:20am. But that's not the only thing for today. After an hour or two of rest I took off again, this time focusing on western Maui with the primary destination of Lahaina, HI. But of course I don't make things easy for myself and start on the remote northern route of Kahekili Highway using Routes 3400 to 340 to 30. There's a few stretches of road even more treacherous than yesterday's Road to Hana, with tight hairpin turns blocked by cliffs only 1.5 car lengths wide, so you better crawl along in case someone on the other side decides to come hither. I'm not sure why they can't expand the road in those places, but hey I don't run things around here. There's a few places where visitors can walk down trails to the beach, but I've had enough of that for now.


    Kahekili Highway, HI (Maui) - Try taking the northern
    route from Kahului to Lahaina. That will mess you up.

    There were also a few art galleries along this route that were curious enough to meander, and of course more places for local cuisine if you needed some grub. Lahaina was finally reached at 12:50pm, just in time for lunch, which made the first stop at Cheeseburger in Paradise restaurant on Front Street and Lahainaluna Road, right on the beach. Good eats here, make sure you stop in! After that was traversing up and down Front Street checking out all the shops, a number of galleries, and of course the foodies. There was a park further south called the Banyan Tree Court which featured a number of Banyan trees with their branches curiously all connected to each other. It was a trip to see. There was a small farmer's market going on here (being the weekend of course) and music entertainment. Great place to stop in and support your local community or charity.


    Lahaina, HI (Maui) - This park has a strange Banyan tree, due to the
    fact that many of the branches connect to adjacent trees all in the
    courtyard. So bizarre! Still scratching my head on how that happens.

    The feet/calves were once again giving me pause to continue, so after a tasty Shaved Ice, it was time to head out, taking the much easier southern Route 30, transitioning to Route 380 to cut across the island back to Paia. I topped off the evening with a dinner at Mama's Fish House, because it seemed like I would be shamed if I didn't stop here.

    Maui has been a great weekend destination, but it's time for the final island. Oh where has the time gone?
    Last edited by Kinless; 12-30-2021 at 02:11 PM.

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tustin, California, United States
    Posts
    279

    Default Day 7

    Day 7 - Pearl of the Harbor
    Monday, June 12, 2017 - 10:00pm HST

    No more of this waking up early business, it was a nice leisurely pace with breakfast at the Paia Inn Cafe, then heading off to Kahului Airport and another quick jaunt to the final Island #4 of Oahu, landing at 12:05pm HST.

    Since my AirBnB check-in wouldn't be ready until late afternoon, I drove the Jeep Wrangler rental straight for Pearl Harbor Memorial, just a few miles away. It's probably better to start here in the morning, as I had to park in the farthest lot from the entrance. You can spend a good half day here learning about all the events that took place in this very harbor. The first thing on the list was checking out the USS Bowfin submarine they have docked here. For $12.00 you can view the adjacent museum and head outside on top of the submarine, then go down into its belly and across the entire interior for a first-hand look on what its was like to live and commandeer this huge vessel: engine rooms, living quarters, mess hall, the bridge, etc. Never seen so much stuff crammed into a small space. It may not be for the claustrophobic!


    USS Bowfin Memorial, HI (Oahu) - That's a
    lot of valves. I marvel at the engineering.

    Afterwards I headed over to the Theater to begin the USS Arizona Memorial tour. I had reserved a spot for this 2 months in advance (and a good thing I did because it sold out quickly). At 2:45pm the crowd was whisked into the theater for a 20-minute presentation on the events leading up to and including the Japanese attack on the harbor, with real footage used. Following that was an exit to the left, onto a ferry where we flew across the harbor, docking at the famous memorial 5 minutes later.

    Some of the USS Arizona is visible, with a few parts sticking up out the water, but most of it is submerged. Buoys mark the edges of the ship. At the far end of the memorial is a giant wall of all the names listed of the fallen, some forever buried directly below us. On either side were the names of survivors that have since passed and wanted their remains to be interred with their fellow crew. Wreaths from a recent interment were present. Definitely a place to pay your respects.


    USS Arizona Memorial, HI (Oahu) - We salute those
    who braved that day of infamy on the ill-fated ship.

    Ferrys come every 15-20 minutes, so I took the next one back, made some souvenir purchases and left at 4:30pm. The place I'm staying is nestled in the Moanalua valley, not far from any destination on the southern shores.

    Oh but I have to fit in as much as possible. I headed back out once more, and over to Pu'u Ualaka'a State Wayside Park. Here they have Tantalus Lookout, a viewpoint high in elevation giving magnificent views of the southern island, including Diamond Head, the skylines of Waikiki and Honolulu, past the airport and Pearl Harbor, all backdropped with the mountains on the west horizon. Luckily the park wasn't closing until 7:45pm today, so me and many others were here camped out for sunset. The camera shutter was once again taking a beating. Even got to witness a sunset proposal. I guess if you're going to propose, this would be a perfect time/place for it. I made it out as the gates were closing and came back to my quarters.


    Puu Ualakaa State Park, HI (Oahu) - Diamond Head and
    the skyline of Waikiki make their presence known.

    One full day left. Better make the most of it and explore this island to the fullest...
    Last edited by Kinless; 12-30-2021 at 02:21 PM.

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
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    Tustin, California, United States
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    279

    Default Day 8

    Day 8 - Time to Capitalize
    Tuesday, June 13, 2017 - 8:45pm MST

    This little bug I've been trying to fight off the last few days seems to have gotten the best of me, despite all the countermeasures in my arsenal. Looks like it's time to dope up on DayQuil/NyQuil in order to power through the rest of this road trip.

    Leaving around 9:00am, first thing on today's agenda was in the heart of Honolulu: the State Capitol, which is unique compared to the other 49. Keeping to native architecture, it's the only "open-air" capitol, with the different assemblies on each floor. While it's open to the public, there isn't much to do for the self-touring folk besides gawk around. Had I signed up for a group tour (which wasn't running today) I could have seen inside the Senate and House chambers on the 1st level. Oh well. Doesn't matter, another capitol goal checked off. With a few minutes left on the meter, I went to check out the Hawaii State Art Museum next door, located on the 2nd floor.


    Honolulu, HI (Oahu) - This is the only open-air state capitol of the 50.
    There's 5 floors and most of the office rooms lead directly outside.

    With that out of the way, it was time to explore the island. I used I-H1 and I-H2 to lead the way to the North Shore communities. (Amusing that Hawaii gets their own Interstate designations since they obviously won't ever cross into another state.) From the town of Wahiawa, HI, Routes 80 to 99 to 83 directed me to Haleiwa, the first of several North Shore towns. There was plenty to do here if shopping, eating, and beaching are on your to-do list, but I wanted to go farther north still. Soon I came upon Waimea Bay, supposedly where the largest waves take up residence, except this isn't Winter, and the crowds were so massive there wasn't any place close to park. As a consolation prize, across the way was the Waimea Valley attraction, which looked promising but the fee to enter was $16.00. Hmm, I'm thinking this will take up more time than I'm willing to put in, so I made do with a quick lunch here and pressed on.

    Route 83 (Kamehameha Highway) continues northwest through many more communities and State Park beaches. I stopped at a few of those beaches containing decent scenery, either with islands a few miles out or with backdropped mountain cliffs toward the interior of Oahu. I soaked my feet in the warm ocean while looking for photo opportunities, but the clouds were washing out my pics so nothing ideal around here.


    Ahupua'a O Kahana State Park, HI (Oahu) - All in all, if I had
    time to lounge about, this would definitely be a contender.

    This highway continued to follow the coastline down the northeast side to the southeast side, with more State Park beaches, some of which had adequate parking, inviting me to stop if it seemed sufficient. It took about 5-6 hours total to traverse the entire highway before returning to home base. I would have stayed out longer but I'm not feeling 100% at this point so that's all I can do.

    I may or may not do something in the morning, depending on how bad my congestion is. I have to be back at the airport by 12:30pm, so if time allows I may try one of the southern beaches.

    Getting sick is lame.
    Last edited by Kinless; 12-30-2021 at 02:33 PM.

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tustin, California, United States
    Posts
    279

    Default Day 9 (Final)

    Day 9 - Aloha again (Travel Day/Final)
    Wednesday, June 14, 2017 - 9:30pm HST

    Still not feeling 100%, but I gotta close out this roadtrip somewhat proper.

    With hours to spare before the mainland flight, I bid farewell to my last AirBnB around 9:00am HST and headed east on I-H1, to the large city of Waikiki. Luckily I found a metered spot close to Kalakaua Avenue, which runs alongside the coast. I had enough change for 90 minutes so it was time to walk some of the famous Waikiki Beach and take final pics. Plenty of hotels, stores and eateries were lined up and down the street as well, so this could have been a full day by itself. I bought an authentic Hawaiian shirt, but that was the extent of shopping around here.


    Waikiki, HI (Oahu) - Before my departing flight, I cruised around
    the shores of Waikiki for a last taste of the Hawaiian culture.

    I think that's about it. I-H1 took me back west, finding a station to fill up the rental before returning to the airport. I got there a few hours early so just found a place to have lunch and hang around until boarding the plane and wheels up at 3:15pm HST, officially ending elapsed time. I arrived in LAX at 11:15pm PDT, with the usual delays and not getting home until 1:05am. Ah, my own bed feels delightful.

    Stay tuned for the conclusion...
    Last edited by Kinless; 12-30-2021 at 02:35 PM.

  5. #15
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    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tustin, California, United States
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    279

    Default Conclusion / Stats / Pics

    It took 12 years since the 48-state road trip (or just under 40 years if starting from the womb) but the primary goal of all 50 states has been achieved, and what a way to go out swinging. I figured if I’m going to finish up the USA, let’s do it properly and hit everything that makes the Aloha State tick. There’s a little something for everyone whether its volcanoes, gardens, resorts, shopping, eating, water activities, or just plain being out in nature. Even going to one island could keep you occupied for weeks, although I gather most come here to relax their worries away instead of rushing everywhere like this guy.

    This was the first road trip that had to be broken up into chunks due to the inevitable island hopping, but it felt unique, like a 4-chapter short story. As you may have heard from countless others, each island is unique in its own right, and obviously likes/dislikes will be different for everybody. If you’re not a fan of humidity, then you might not enjoy the islands quite as much. I don’t know if it’s any different in the winter, but a summer visit will keep your pores working overtime for sure. Only if you plan on heading up to the high elevations when the sun is down should you don your winter gear.

    Like Alaska, things out here are more expensive than the mainland, although not quite as bad as I was expecting. Grocery stores weren’t excessive, it was mostly retail, restaurants and art galleries that shot for the moon. Being isolated as the islands are, it’s a must to include airfare and car rentals into your budget everywhere you visit. If you’re looking to save some cash with accommodations, give AirBnB a try. You meet some nice locals who can provide advice on what’s best for that area. I didn’t have a single bad experience in this arena.


    Favorite Places: You knew this coming, and so did I. “What island is your favorite?” you ask. The geologist in me says Big Island while the botanist says Kauai. The adventurer says Maui while the historian says Oahu. Does that answer your question? :) I got my kicks scaling the tops of Mauna Kea summit on the Big Island if you’re asking for the one thing that stood out the most. Everything else just kind of blended together into one nice package.

    Least Desirables: There weren’t any specific places that detracted from the Hawaiian experience. I’ve already said my piece about the weather, and oh yes the mosquitoes also come out to play (miraculously I escaped with only 3-4 bites). I suppose if I had to complain about something, it would be the super narrow roads on Maui (I'm lookin' at YOU Hana and Kahekili Highways). I understand the 1-lane bridges that can’t be helped, but would it kill them to put a full 2-lane road where there’s steep cliffs and other hazards? That’s a recipe for a disaster. Granted you’re not supposed to be going very fast on these backroads, but if you happen upon another vehicle and it’s unfortunate enough to be at one of those “special” places, what are you supposed to do?

    What’s next? Summer 2017 will bring a 16-day trip to the central eastern US. The parents and I are flying to St. Louis, MO and doing a loop around 9-10 states for paternal family visits, and all centered around the solar eclipse of August 21, 2017. It’s not the original plan I had for RT09, but with my folk’s abilities, adjustments had to be made in order to keep the pace light for the good of all. It may very well be their final major road trip.


    Statistics:

    Total Miles: 1,149 (Big Island: 376, Kauai: 229, Maui: 342, Oahu: 202)
    Total Stops: 29
    Total Elapsed Time: 9 days, 15 minutes (wheels down at KOA [Day 0] to wheels up at HNL [Day 9])

    Total U.S. States: 1
    Total U.S. Capitols: 1
    Total National Parks: 2 (Hawaii Volcanoes, Haleakala)
    Total State Parks: 4 (Lava Tree State Monument [Big Island], Waimea Canyon State Park [Kauai], Ha’ena State Park [Kauai], Ahupuaʻa ʻO Kahana State Park [Oahu])

    Types of Rental Vehicles: 2017 Chevy Impala (Big Island), 2016 Jeep Wrangler (Kauai, Maui, Oahu)
    Gallons of Fuel: 60.581 (18.97 MPG)

    Total Cost of Trip: $2,522 (includes airfare, shuttle, car rental, fuel, AirBnB, food, souvenirs, and park/tour fees)


    Pictures:

    You’d think Hawaii would have been my personal photographer’s paradise, but with my busy schedule I only managed 824 clicks. That made out to be 618 keepers, with the final 90 giving the most telling summary of where and what. You've already seen selected pics littered throughout this thread, but you can view the entire album using one of the following:

    1) The RTA PhotoShare Galleries
    2) Facebook (no account necessary)
    3) Flickr (slideshow-friendly with the occasional ad in between)

    If you're signed in to your account on any of these sites, previous road trips are also lurking next to these albums, so you can look back into our road trip history. (Or just tap the links at the top post of this thread.)


    Until we ride again

    Hope you enjoyed the tale.

    Last edited by Kinless; 12-30-2021 at 03:09 PM.

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Phoenix, Arizona
    Posts
    718

    Default

    Thank you, on behalf of all of us! And congratulations on bagging state #50--it was fun to read about your adventures.

    Now you need to do the Canadian Provinces and all the Estados in Mexico!

    Rick

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tustin, California, United States
    Posts
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Quinn View Post
    Now you need to do the Canadian Provinces and all the Estados in Mexico!
    All of Canada is definitely on the list. I've been to BC and Ontario, but what would really knock them out is a cross-country trip across all provinces over a few weeks. Alberta and its scenery are definitely highest priority.

    Mexico, I've never had much of an urge to travel there. I'd be content with just stepping in the country at some point. I may go down to Ensenada next year as part of a group and that'll take care of it, or perhaps a flight to Puerto Vallarta or Cancun some day will suffice.

    Given the chance I'd probably take care of US territories first, like Puerto Rico, Guam, Virgin Islands, Mariana Islands, and American Samoa. THEN I'll start thinking international (UK, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, etc.)

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Phoenix, Arizona
    Posts
    718

    Default

    A friend and I drove my Jeep down to the Yucatan and back, year before last, and it was some of the best fun I've ever had. It's more than just travel, it's full-immersion in another culture that's very different, and at the same time, very familiar, and it's so close! Driving in Mexico isn't for everybody, but if you're the adventurous type, the rewards are world-class.

    I've got a post in my blog about my Mexican Road Trip; describes my adventures in some detail, and includes lots of "how to" information about documents, routes, and the border crossing, along with links to resources.

    Rick

  9. #19
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    Mar 2005
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    Tustin, California, United States
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    Default Returning to Hawaii in 2022

    Normally I start roadtrips in a new thread, but this is more of a follow-up trip to complete the remaining (accessible) islands of Hawaii. I didn't worry so much about mileage, costs, or strict schedules this time, although the achievement of certain goals was certainly kept in play. In any case, keeping the following reports here improves the inclusiveness for anyone looking to research travel plans to Hawaii no matter which island(s).

    In February 2022, I flew to Maui and used it as home base for traveling to the two minor islands that don't receive as much attention as the "Big 4" do. This was also an opportunity to try and catch some things in Maui I missed on the last round, with some success.

    Feb 5 - Travel Day, fly to Kahului (OGG), stay in Paia, HI (Maui)
    Feb 6 - Road to Hana (Waianapanapa State Park, Koki Beach Park)
    Feb 7 - Daytrip to Lanai via ferry
    Feb 8 - Daytrip to Molokai via commuter plane
    Feb 9 - Backroad to Hana (Haleakala National Park - Seven Sacred Pools)
    Feb 10 - Beach Day (Sugar Beach)
    Feb 11 - Travel Day, fly home (LGB)

    This is also my first trip post-pandemic, having to show proof of vaccination at the airport in order to receive a wristband that clears you from a forced quarantine. Hawaii has some of the strictest rules: several establishments also required ID and vaxx-proof to enter (with masks). This will likely no longer apply as the pandemic winds down, but something to consider if deciding to travel during future pandemics.

    Saturday, February 5th
    It was a super early flight from Long Beach Airport (LGB) using Hawaiian Airlines, but I took advantage of a Black Friday deal to score my seat for super cheap so I can put up with it this once. Wheels were up around 7:25 am PST. Arrived exactly 5 hours later in Kahului Airport on Maui (OGG) at 10:25 am HST. With the Jeep Wrangler rental in hand, it didn't take long to arrive at my base in Paia shortly after 11:00am. As I didn't really have anything on tap for today, I filled up my wares at the nearby supermarket and kept the wandering local. Went to Paia Bay Coffee Bar for lunch and walked some of the shops there. One town I decided to explore this time is Makawao, about 15 minutes away and higher elevation so not quite as warm. Nice place for foodies and galleries but not really my bag (except for the glassblowing studio which was interesting). Headed back to home base, then out again to Peligro’s for dinner.

    Sunday, February 6th
    I trekked the Road to Hana last time, but wanted to try and fill in the blanks that were missed due to time and weather. As is always recommended, I started the route at 8:30am. First stop on the list was the Garden of Eden Arboretum where you can feed the fowl, observe native flora and waterfalls, and get a peek at the rock from the opening island scene in Jurassic Park. Here it was raining on and off so kind of annoying, but not detrimental.


    Garden of Eden Arboretum (Maui) - First order of business is
    finding attractions along the Road to Hana that I missed last time,
    the first being the Garden of Eden. In the distance you can see the
    rock from the opening island scene in Jurassic Park.

    Next stop was the Ke’anae lookout, a mini-peninsula off the town of Ke'anae, with waves crashing against the lava rocks making for a serene location to enjoy, but time is of the essence on this road! Luckily there was no more rain at this point, so it was decided to head all the way to Koki Beach Park, where a mean Huli Huli chicken stand has set up shop; great eating while taking in more beach/rock/wave/island-with-lone-palm tree views.

    It's a good point to turn around here before finding yourself wandering on to the treacherous "backside" road of Hana (more on that later). From here it was a backtrack to Wai‘anapanapa State Park, which had eluded me before but not this time. Finally got to witness and trudge upon the famous black sand beach. There was a bit of crowds so I didn't hang around too long, but it's a great park to spend the day if so desired. Continuing on, I revisited the Hana Lava Tube despite seeing it before, just because I'm a sucker for this kind of stuff. That's all the energy I had for today... returned to Paia about 4:30pm. Headed to the nearby town of Ha’iku with dinner at Coleen’s.


    Wai'anapanapa State Park (Maui) - I missed this before due
    to heavy rain, but not this time! Black Sand Beach achieved!

    Monday, February 7th (Lanai)
    Today was exciting as another Hawaiian island can be marked off the list. I boarded the ferry on the west side of Maui in Lahaina, which left at 9:45am and headed straight for the island of Lanai. As this was also whale migration season, there were a few of the mammals galavanting about. The ride was 45 minutes, landing ashore at 10:30am. I met the group tour guide, who first drove us to Lanai Cat Sanctuary, a refuge for over 650 feral cats. There are several kennel areas, divided by cat age. A bag of cat treats is provided upon entry. And let me tell you, if you're a cat lover, expect to stay here all day. With my allergies I had to keep the felines at arms length, but the whole setup is quite a notable cause.


    Cat Sanctuary (Lanai) - Wanna feed/sponsor/adopt a cat?
    Choose from 650 felines! While feeding, some will follow you,
    some will scatter, and some just don't care. Sounds about right!

    After an hour the tour van came back and whisked us away to the heart of the island: Lanai City. As the town is higher in elevation, I couldn't help at marvel at the tall "pine" trees in their central park. If you've ever been to an alpine forest, that's what it feels like here. Lunch was served at the Blue Ginger Cafe. There were a few shops and galleries, and one convenience store. There's really not that much to do here for the casual tourist, but 3,000 residents apparently love the tranquility here, and I can see why.


    Lanai City (Lanai) - In Dole Park, it sort of feels like you're up around Big Bear
    Lake (or any alpine forest really). Nice and tranquil I say.

    Unfortunately there wasn't quite enough time to see other attractions on Lanai, such as Shipwreck Beach or Garden of the Gods, as those required 4x4 vehicles and I didn't sign up for that. Gotta mark it for next time I suppose. The tour van got everyone back to the harbor by 2:00pm for our return ferry. By this time the seas were much rougher for the first half so the ride back was rather jostling. I knew better and stayed in the shielded interior, enjoying watching the outsiders get splashed despite the crew's advance warnings. Noticed a few dolphins here and there upon approach to Maui. After landing, a little time was spent wandering Lahaina, although I had done this before. It's a little touristy so I had enough of that and went back to home base. Dinner would be spent at Casanova’s in Makawao for the evening.

    Tuesday, February 8th (Molokai)
    Wham, bam, just like that another island which completes the entire chain. Now, the only reliable way to arrive at this island is by plane. But instead of the larger commercial airlines, I used a commuter that came with the tour package (Mokulele Airlines) using a 9-seat Cessna 208. Haven't flown in anything this small since the Alaska trip! The 8:00 am flight from Maui (OGG) only took 45 minutes to reach Molokai Airport (MKK). At the terminal, I met John my tour guide, along with a couple from Oahu (Jeff and Alicia). Today we have 6 hours to explore what makes Molokai tick. We started off on Mauna Loa Highway which is the island's main artery.


    Kepuhi Beach (Molokai) - This uninhabited beach stretches for about
    3 miles. If you don't fancy crowds, there's no better place to set up shop!

    First place we hit (after stopping at a shop for souvenirs) was on the far west end of the island, Kepuhi Beach, a long 3-mile stretch of brilliant sand with hardly any visitors, and perhaps 3-4 private homes. If you want a beach virtually all to yourself, this would be it. Next stop was Purdy’s Macadamia Nut farm, a small business of harvesting 7 acres of Macadamia Nuts year-round. I cracked one open and gave it a try, which sternly reminded me why I don’t like nuts. But as they have their own bees, they collect honey to which I did purchase a bottle.

    Continuing on, next stop was the Molokai Museum and Cultural Center, which hosts the nearby RW Meyer Sugar Mill. This relic, once driven by nothing more than mules and steam, was used back in the pioneering days before falling into disrepair and subsequently restored during the 1980s to its former glory.


    RW Meyer Sugar Mill (Molokai) - This sugar mill was restored
    to its prime condition during the olden days, original equipment and all.

    Those of you who know their history may remember that Molokai was the final destination for those infected with leprosy from 1865-1969. The museum itself contained a special exhibit of folks from that Leper Colony who lived on the north peninsula for those 104 years. From the museum, we headed toward the north end of the island via Route 470 to Pala’au State Park, featuring a viewpoint of Kalaupapa peninsula where the entire leper colony lived, and where 5 of the original outcasts remain as of this writing. Even more fascinating are the dozens of workers and millions of dollars per year keep the place maintained while the remaining residences are still alive! In addition to the viewpoint, a five-minute walk will lead you to an offbeat feature called Phallic Rock, which looks... um... just as described.


    Kalaupapa Peninsula (Molokai) - The ex-leper colony town
    of Kalaupapa on this peninsula is still run by the government and
    costs $7 million to maintain every year... all for the 5 people who
    decided never to leave. That law's still on the books!

    It was time to backtrack down the highway to the south end of the island, through the town of Kaunakakai on Route 450, and to Saint Joseph Church & Cemetery, one of the 6 quaint churches that St. Damien built during the leprosy era. Our last stop was back in town for a bite to eat, with a drive around the (mostly commercial) harbor, then finally back to Molokai airport. Our tour guide, being somewhat of a native, was very helpful and knowledgable, to which I give 5 stars! Cessna wheels were up at 4:05pm with a return to Maui at 4:30pm. Dinner that night was at the impossible-to-reserve Mama’s Fish House (don't ask how I got in lol).

    Wednesday, February 9th
    With the main goals out of the way, I thought it would be a decent gamble to try re-visiting Haleakala National Park (not the summit). I had done the "backroad" to Hana before, but decided to change it up and take the long way around (from the south) using Route 31. Stopped at Grandma’s for a french toast breakfast, then continued the highway with lovely views of the tiny island of Kaho'olawe on the way. Last time I was through here, the environment was very arid with dried scrub, but due to recent heavy rainfall, this side of the island was much more green than usual. Getting into the thick of the highway, I had forgotten how severely rugged and bumpy this road was. Make sure to get your bathroom breaks out of the way first! Definitely helps to have a 4x4.

    Over two hours later, first stop was something unintentionally skipped the first time: Palapala Ho’omau church and cemetery, where the famous aviator Charles Lindbergh is interred. It's super easy to miss so you have to know where you're going. The church grounds were quaint, and the cemetery has many crude graves. Lindbergh's rock-covered site is sparsely littered with model airplanes from previous visitors. There's also an adjacent tiny park for just hanging out if desired.


    Charles Lindbergh's Grave (Maui) - This was easy to miss
    (as was the case last time) but for this round I made sure to visit
    the grave of this famous aviator, who passed away on this island.

    Haleakala National Park was just a mile further along the road. Unfortunately, I didn't bother to check the status on the NPS website, finding out that the Seven Sacred Pools are permanently closed for swimming (ugh). At least it wasn’t raining this time so I could walk the ˝ mile trail and take pics. There was a longer 2-mile trail to the interior where several waterfalls could be viewed, but this old man didn’t feel the endurance for that. After this visit concluded, I dreaded using the backroad again, so it was decided to just continue the rest of the highway through Hana and back to home base, even though I had gone through it just days before, but that was better than enduring the bumpy ride back. I don't think too many folks can say they did the road to Hana twice in a week! Pretty sure I never need to drive this road ever again either. :) Took another 2 hours but returned to home base by 3:30pm. I spent the rest of the day taking a well-earned nap before going to the local Flatbread Company in Paia for dinner, with pizza and salad.


    Seven Sacred Pools (Maui) - Unfortunately these pools are
    permanently closed to swimmers so all I could do was take shots
    of the falls. Still a beauty.

    Thursday, February 10th
    With all primary goals out of the way, I just wanted to spend the day relaxing. I tried one of those healthy breakfasts at the Choice Health Bar in town to start the morning, and afterwards headed off to Sugar Beach in the central southern part of the island and found a little place to camp out for a few hours and just bask in the Hawaii sun. There weren't any big waves here so it was easy to wade in to the 78°F water. After this, I headed to Papawai Lookout for any more possible whale sightings, but it was pretty light. Oh well, back to home base I go. I spent the rest of the afternoon perusing the shops for souvenirs and gifts. The final meal was a jaunt to the town of Hail'imaile at their General Store (which yes does include a restaurant).

    Friday, February 11th
    That's all I have to report! Spent the morning cleaning up and figuring out how to pack all these purchased goodies in a simple carry-on suitcase. (I made it work). Headed to Kahului Airport (OGG) for the 11:55am flight, wheels up around 12:15pm HST. Landed back at Long Beach (LGB) around 7:00pm PST.

    Conclusion
    It was really nice to get out and stretch the recreational muscles. Maybe it's due to the lack of an official trip for almost five years, or maybe the deep desire to kick this pandemic to the curb, but I tremendously enjoyed the encore presentation of Hawaii with two new islands to explore. If you like cats and alpine environments, Lanai would be your go-to island. If you're into (non-military) historical aspects I would definitely recommend Molokai. Both islands have way more to do than what I was able to squeeze in, especially the recreational/outdoor folk. Give them a go if you're fortunate to have a few extra days at your disposal.

    As far as the final two (private) islands, it is possible to steal away on a beach of the "Forbidden Isle" of Ni'ihau for a few hours via helicopter (just don't bother the locals). The smallest island of Kaho'olawe allows no one except those who wish to volunteer for restoration efforts (erosion control, removal of invasive species, etc.) and the waiting list for this is long. You wouldn't be going for fun, you'd be going to work! Maybe some day after my other territory goals are complete will I attempt these.

    Thanks for reading!

    Photos
    I took a few hundred pics but posted just a few for most to get the gist. Although I put a few photos in with the reports, the full set of 32 large photos is on Facebook and Google Photos.
    Last edited by Kinless; 03-05-2022 at 09:30 PM.

  10. #20
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    The photos in your last post are not visible. My primary browser is Vivaldi (based on Chromium) and all I can see is a circle with a dash in it in the middle of a blank square. Cleared cache and reloaded, same thing. Tried Firefox, Chrome, and Edge, the placeholders aren't even there.

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