In the 1960's kids in other places probably heard surf music and wanted to come to California. As a California kid I dreamed of Hawaii. There was, I swear, a kind of Polynesian love affair everywhere in Southern California - my parents and our neighbors had "Tiki" Parties. There was (and still remains) the Enchanted Tiki Room at Disneyland. All of us kids had Tiki totems for necklaces. There were Tiki bars in every city. Elvis was in Hawaii and, to the tune of Pearly Shells, our sugar came from Hawaii (after browning in the sun) and, well, surfing... sure Huntington beach was calling itself Surf City but everyone knew that Waikiki was WAY cooler and that the north shore of Oahu was where the big waves crashed. And, of course, we all remembered Pearl Harbor. Hawaii was in our bones.
As I grew older I never had the money to fly to Hawaii and so, as is my way, I decided it wasn't that great after all. Then, sometime in my mid 30s I met someone and she offered to take me to Maui for free. Free? Oh, OK then...why not?
I can remember stepping off the plane in Maui and instantly the world felt fresher and cleaner and friendlier and, well, just so damn beautiful. I'll never forget it and I still get that feeling when I step off the plane on any Hawaiian island even if it's raining or humid (or both).
After that trip I made several other trips in the next 20 years. Oahu twice, Kauai 3 times, Maui 3 times and what we called, "the Big Island" twice. We were told by some locals on the last trip that they do not like the Island of Hawaii to be called, "the Big Island" they prefer simply Hawaii or, the Island of Hawaii. That's cool - other words for it might be "nirvana" or Shangri-La". I had always been told that it "rains all the time in Hilo" and so, I'd only driven through one time (it rained). But, this time we decided to throw caution to the winds and spend 3 days there and it was delightful and truly felt like "Old Hawaii".
The photo above was taken at Akaka Falls State Park just up the road from Hilo. What a place!
It rained softly but steadily one afternoon. We were at a local shave ice place and there was fellow tourist who asked a local, "Does it rain like this a lot"? "Um, sir, this isn't raining". Ha! Point made! Here are a few more photos from around Hilo.
After some unnecessary rental car issues (never again Budget Car Rental!) we made it Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park. Some geezer was standing by the sign and his wife took a photo of him.
I am not sure why this, my third trip the Island of Hawaii, was the first time I visited the National Park. Indeed, it is something quite different and remarkable. The following photo is of the walk through the Nāhuku lava tube which closed a few weeks after we left due to "structural issues" Yikes.
The next photos are from the "Devastation Trail". I always appreciate and admire plants that grow with such little nourishment and against all odds - they inspire me to keep goin'.
Kilauea is still erupting and while they don't let folks get too close I did make a few photos. It is wild.
My favorite part of the National Park is at the end of Chain of Craters Road. Stunning! Here is the Hōlei Sea Arch. My goodness, I was mesmerized by it's beauty.
After spending a fine evening at the Volcano House we headed for Kailua-Kona and made a few stops along the way. First up is famous Punalu'u Black Sand Beach. I was sorry we were there in the middle of the day - I'd enjoy going back in the early morning or evening and making some photos some day.
We then went to Pu'uhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park known as a sacred place of refuge. The last I was there was with Lilly when she was about 5 years old. This time Lupe was with me and we thoroughly enjoyed our visit.
We then moseyed on down to the hotel and went on a coffee bean tour - got good and wired and then went to a luau and wondered how in the world those dancers can be so graceful. Wonderful. The day we left we had loco moco for breakfast and I made one last photo. We are already planning a return to the islands - maybe Oahu next year... Thanks for coming along...
This will mostly be a journal of my travels. I may include other items that interest me. Feel free to join in.