Posts Tagged ‘anniversary’

Final days in paradise

Sunday, August 14th, 2011

I was able to sleep in today because our ferry didn’t leave for Maui until 2pm. Once I got up, we packed up for our trip back to Maui. We checked out of the hotel and then walked around the rest of the town we had not seen yet. After we finished our walk we sat and relaxed on the porch of the hotel and I finished reading the book I started on the way over.

The shuttle arrived and we headed for the ferry. We boarded and it took about 30 minutes to get down to the harbor. Once there the ferry was just arriving so we didn’t have too long to wait. We boarded and sat inside this time so that we stayed out of the sun. The ride back was just as smooth as the ride over and took about 45 minutes. After we disembarked we had to wait for the rental car shuttle because the reservation was not properly made, not the first problem, but hopefully the last. Fortunately, I was able to call them and they arrived in about ten minutes. We picked up the rental car and then drove back to the hotel. We checked in and unpacked and had our stored luggage sent to the room.

Angie was hungry so we went over to the Hula Grill for food. We sat and listened to music while we ate. After we finished lunch we went to the pool for a swim and hung out for a while. We sat in the spa for a little while and met some people from Riverside. His eldest daughter was starting at Point Loma University this Fall. We were graced with the presence of a woman who was a bartender from Las Vegas and was way more than three-sheets by the time she entered the spa. She definitely had way too much to drink. It was more comical than anything because she was one of those Meer drunks. She had an opinion on everything, especially the weather in Seattle. She kept saying how much she hated it, but later we found out she had never been there.

We had left overs for dinner. We figured after carrying them around between three islands we should finally eat them.

The next day we got up early for breakfast and drove into Lahaina. We parked and walked to Cheeseburger in Paradise for breakfast. I guess this is a Jimmy Buffet themed restaurant, but for some reason they were playing Hawaiian music. The food was good, but the employees really know how to cross and up sell you. If you are weak, you may not want to go there. 😀

After breakfast we walked over to Hilo Hattie’s so that Angie could do some shopping. As it turned out I ended up spending more money than her ;-). I bought a shirt and she bought some pineapple earrings. We also bought some candies. We headed up the coast for some snorkeling. We went to Honoluka Bay on the advice of several people at the hotel. The best advice was to not park on the right side of the road as they give people tickets. We lucked out and got a spot just as someone was leaving. We walked down the steps to the beach and found a place to lay our stuff.

The water was not too cold and Angie and I went in to do some snorkeling. I am not sure that snorkeling is something that she is ever going to get the hang of. I think she needs to spend a lot of time in the pool first. I was able to swim out to some rocks and saw a lot of fish and even one eel. Because I didn’t have flippers or a life vest, I got pretty tired floating and treading water so I came back in and we laid out on the sand.

We went in the water a few more time and enjoyed the water and waves. Afterwards we headed back to the hotel. We drive along the coast through some of the older parts of the town. This is the road I remember from twenty years ago. We even drove by the China Boat restaurant.

We returned to the hotel and hung out at the pool. We tried several times to flag down the waitress for drinks but she just refused to come by. We finally just went up on our own and got the drinks. We got a little burned laying at the pool, but not too bad. After swimming and relaxing we got dressed for the Luau at the Sheraton hotel.

We walked about ten minutes to the Luau. They gave us drinks and took our picture while we waited to check in. After checking in, we were seated at our table. We went to get some drinks , we took a look at some of the local artists works. I ended up buying a mask for my collection. They had some demonstrations of native Hawaiian games and skills.

We watched the unveiling of the pig from the IMU. The pig looked fantastic once it was revealed. I need to figure out a way to put on in my back yard. Perhaps the pool needs to go?

Once the pig was revealed it was taken in to be shredded and dinner was served. Dinner consisted of potato salad, pasta salad, purple sweet potatos, Mahi Mahi, teriyaki steak and the kulua pork. The food was really good, although neither of us was willing to try the poi. We finished eating and enjoyed the sunset.


At sunset (our last one on Maui :() we watched the lighting of the torches and the cliff diver jumping into the ocean. The sunset here never gets old. After the sun set, the luau show started. The dancers came on stage and the show started.

The show was amazing. The dancers performed many traditional Hawaiian and Polynesian dances. We both enjoyed the show a lot.

After the show we walked back to the hotel and went to the spa to relax. We met some people we had chatted with the previous night. We talked about what we all did during the day. They had actually been at the luau but we didn’t see them there. After soaking for a while we went back to the room and went to sleep.

Today is our last day on the Islands. We got up and packed for our flight home. We checked out of the hotel (seriously, they charged me $2.00 to make an 800 call?). This really has to be one of the most nickle and dime hotels we have ever stayed at. Overall, I have to say all of the hotel are overpriced but at least at the Marriott on Kauai they provided some quality service. The Westin doesn’t seem to know how to really provide quality service. I normally don’t book package hotels and probably won’t again…well with the exception of the Atlantis Hotel in the Bahamas.

We drove into Lahaina and found a place to park. We went to Longhi’s Lahaina for breakfast, the food was good, but really really slow service. Angie’s food didn’t come out for quite a long time because they burned it the first time. After breakfast, Angie wanted to go back to Hilo Hattie’s because she didn’t get her free shell necklace. We then had to return to the restaurant because she left her hat there. Fortunately, it was still there. We walked back to the car and headed back to the airport. As we drive out of town there was a lot of traffic. Apparently, a canoe event had just finished so a lot of people were crossing the roads at random causing the traffic to stop to let them cross. This caused about a five mile backup. Once we passed the beach area it was smooth driving the rest of the way.

We stopped to fill up on gas and then I dropped Angie off at the airport with the luggage while I returned the rental car. I made it back to the airport and we checked in. The check in terminals all had 404 browser errors running IE. Ah, welcome back to reality. The line for security was really slow, but the X-Ray seemed to go quickly.  We had to pass through two agricultural inspections. All they do is X-Ray the luggage, because I guess fruits, vegetable and flowers show up on the X-Ray machine?

Our plane was a little late arriving but it finally pulled into the terminal. Alaska apparently does something interesting, if you have luggage you are willing to check, you can board early if you choose to check it through baggage claim. The gate attendant said it was because they had $24k in fines last year. I find that hard to believe, but I did find a lot of other fines they have received with a quick Google search. I am not so sure I want to be flying on this airline 😉

The flight home was uneventful. We arrived a few minutes later than planned but it was good to be home. We picked up our luggage and went to get a shuttle home.

The private island

Sunday, August 14th, 2011

Today we got up and checked out of the hotel. They had our reservation all messed up. They thought we were leaving a day later than we had planned. I will probably have to contact the agency and see if they over charged us for one night, since the hotel was prepaid. We left our large luggage with the hotel so that we didn’t have to carry it to our next destination. We are returning to the same hotel after a couple day trip over to Lana’i.

We headed down the road and had breakfast at Lulu‘s. We both had french toast. Angie’s was plain and mine was macadamia nut with bananas. After breakfast, we drove to the car rental place to drop off the car. They then gave us a lift to the Lahaina harbor. We checked in with the ferry office and waited for the ferry to arrive.

We boarded the ferry and grabbed a seat on top of the boat. The seats were a lot more comfortable than the ones we road in to Moloka’i. Plus there was no sign of any soot around 😉 After a recorded safety message the ferry left the harbor. We noticed a lot of surfers in the water just near the departure channel. There are quite a good amount of waves that break just outside the harbor on both sides. The ride over to Lana’i took about 45 minutes and it was nice and smooth. A big change from the ride over to Moloka’i. The water is protected from the winds by the island, so the crossing is quite smooth.

We sailed into the harbor on Lana’i and disembarked. There were a number of shuttles waiting for us. The island has a pretty good transportation system, but it does cost $35 a person. The cost is for your entire stay, so the longer you stay, the better deal it is.

The shuttles run from the harbor, to the airport and all the hotels on the island. They do not all run to each location, so you have to be careful of which one you get on or you may end up not going where you had planned to. Several people had this problem while we were there. Our shuttle took us to our hotel. We chose not to stay at one of the main hotels on the island, but instead at a bed and breakfast in the main town of Lana’i City.

The hotel’s name is Hotel Lana’i. They have several rooms from small to full cottages with front porches that overlook the city. The hotel is situated on a small hill above the city and has a lot of Norfolk Pines on the property. The walkway to our room was lined with pineapple plants. Two of which had fruit on them (very tiny, but cute). Our room had a nice living room, bathroom and bedroom. There was a refrigerator and cooler in the room. We unpacked and decided to take a nap. The hotel has a nice restaurant but they are only open Weds-Sunday and since this was Tuesday, we had to wait until tomorrow before we could eat there.

After our nap, we walked down to the main square of the town. We checked out some of the stores. We noticed that pretty much everything closes at 7pm. The subtleties of a small town you forget about. Most of the dinner places were open until 8 or 8:30pm. We decided to eat at Pele’s Other Garden. A small Italian deli that was serving pizza, pasta and salads for dinner. Angie had cheese ravioli and I had the cheese tortellini with garlic pesto sauce. It’s very odd eating a pesto sauce without pine nuts in them, but I guess they don’t get them on the islands. I ordered a side of meat balls. They were good, but they didn’t say what type of meat and we didn’t ask. 😀

After dinner we strolled through their park area and back to the hotel. Although we had not done that much today, we still felt beat. It was off to blog, some reading and then bed as tomorrow would be a busy day. Well, as busy as you can get in a very small town.

The next day we got up and had a continental breakfast at the hotel. Wow, this is a rare thing in Hawaii. The fact that food was included for breakfast makes this the best priced room on all the islands we stayed at. After breakfast we decided to rent a 4×4 Jeep. We got lucky that they had one available as the next day they were all booked up. We walked down to the rental place which was about two blocks from the hotel. Another reason I am glad we stayed at this hotel is it was close to everything. The other hotels would have required us to catch a shuttle first.

The jeep they gave us looked like it had been through the wars 😉 But this was because of the dust and sand on the island. The sand is a reddish color and it gets into everything. The jeep was originally black interier, but now it’s a dull black with red in every seam and crevice. We learned later that our hair, clothing and bags all came away with a red hue. I had to sign tons of waivers and disclaimers that I would not drive on the beach, deep sand or on any unmarked road. I was warned of towing fees and fines. I guess they have a lot of trouble with people doing the wrong things on the island. It ruins it for everyone else.

We headed out to the first stop on our trip. Out on Route 1, we turned right at the end of the paved road towards Naha to see the fish pond. The drive was about 90 minutes with a church at the half way point being built. When we reached the end of the trail, we had arrived at Naha. We got out and changed into swimming suites. There was absolutely nobody around except for a few boats about a half mile off shore sailing by. We went into the water which was nice and warm. This would be an excellent place to have a picnic lunch. If you plan to do this drive, go to shipwreck beach first, then come this direction and have your lunch.

We turned around and headed back to shipwreck beach. After about an hour we reached the turn off point for the trail. We continued along the road until we reached the end. About 100 yards is a soft patch of sand. It may look OK to drive through, but I recommend that you do NOT even with a 4×4 unless you know how to drive in soft sand, you WILL get stuck. Note, you have been warned. When we rented the car, a lady was calling in that she was stuck and when we left the beach another couple was stuck.

We walked to shipwreck beach and found the remains of the lighthouse. The remains of the Liberty are sunk on the coral reef in the distance. This area also has petroglyphs, but we were unable to find them. Another couple was looking as well and we seemed unable to find any trace of them. I know they are there, we just must have been looking in the wrong location.

Both of us were hungry and decided it was time to go back to the city for lunch. We wanted to try the Lodge at Koele. On our way back to the car, we ran into a couple stuck in the sand. They did a really good job of getting stuck. I am not sure who was driving, but they got stuck because they were not using four wheel drive and pretty much burried the rear wheel 2/3 of the way into the sand. Nothing they could do but call for help. We gave them a lift back to the car dealership because it was lunch time and nobody was answering the phone.

We found out they were from Seattle by way of Alaska, and knew how to drive in snow, but not sand. They were on their honeymoon so at least they have a story to tell their friends and family when they get back.

The ride back took about 30 minutes and we dropped them off at the renal agency. We then headed up to the lodge for lunch. The lodge didn’t have a lot of guests and seemed quote empty, although about five tables were seated for lunch. We sat and ordered lunch. I had the Venison Chili and Angie had the asian chicken salad. I also tried their rasberry lemonade, it was pretty good but a bit sweet for my taste.

After lunch, we walked around the grounds. They had some nice fish ponds and waterfalls. The gardens were well kept, except for a hole in the grass that was covered by grass, that I had the misfortune of stepping in. I semi-twisted my ankle. Let’s hope it don’t get in the way of futher hiking. We walked back to the car and continue on our driving/hiking tour around the island.

Our next destination was to go to Polihua Beach and Keahi a Kawelo Garden of the Gods. This was a much better road than the previous route, it was quite wide and smooth, although there was red dirt all over the place, and the winds would blow our dust back at us in some places. This is probably the main reason there is so much dust in all the jeeps. We took a wrong turn and ended up on a side ride that went to the resevoir. Once we realized our mistake we turned around and made it back to the correct road. We traveled along the road until we reached the Garden of the Gods. Here was a lot of rock formations. As we traveled past the rocks the road turned very bumpy. The road remained bumpy all the way down to Polihua Beach.

We reached the beach and parked just short of the soft sand. We walked over the sand dune and down to the water. There was not a single person in sight either direction on the beach. The beach was unmarked by any footprints. We walked to the rocky point which is the northern most point of Lana’i. This area of Lana’i is not a good place to swim as the ocean currents are really strong. They call it the Tahitian express, because of you get caught in the currents, you will not get out until you reach Tahiti.

We braved sticking our feet into the water, but didn’t go swimming. On the walk back to the car, we had to walk into the wind. It was a lot harder going back and every once in a while we got sand blasted when the wind picked up a lot of sand. As we headed back the beach had a few more people, so we had it to ourselves for just a little while. The sand was really hot so I had to put my shoes back on as my feet. We drive back up from the beach, the ride up didn’t seem as bad as the ride down. I think gravity and speed had something to do with it. The trip back was a lot faster since we didn’t have to make an unscheduled detour. When we got back to town, we drove down to the Kaumalapa’u Barge Harbor. This was a completely paved road and went by the airport. The road are lined with Norfolk Pines and really make it stand out. There is something abotu a long tree lined road that makes you feel like your in the country. But country that is being well maintained.

After we reached the harbor we turned around and headed to the Four Seasons at Manele Bay. We parked in the parking lot, which was at the top of a pretty steep hill. We could not find anyway to easily walk down the hill to the hotel, so we decided it wasn’t in our stars today. We drive back to the hotel and returned the rental car. The entire day we drove about 100 miles, but when I filled up the gas tank it took over 14 gallons of gas. The car should get at least 20 miles to the gallon (I still need to look it up online), but at 20 miles to the gallan, that would only be five gallons of gas. The rental agency was willing to credit me and we settled on about $30. At
$5.18 a gallon it was quite a lot of money. We walked back to the hotel and changed our dinner reservations to an hour later. We showered and tried to get rid of all the red dirt and dust from our body and hair. I decided to take a nap before dinner. One forgets how much walking around in the sun drains you.

After a few hour nap, we dressed for dinner and went to the hotel dining room, the lana’i city grille. It seemed to be the happening place. The bar was full and just about every table was occupied. Although we were a few minutes early, our table was ready and we were seated.

We ordered the crab dip appetizer and some drinks. I tried the spicy lobster and coconut bisque, which was good, but I think a bit too much coconut. I ordered the Venison Loin and Angie ordered the Meatloaf. The Venison was quite delicious and had a prune reduction sauce that I really enjoyed. Again, we didn’t ask what type of meat was in the meatloaf, but it was pretty good.

After dinner we went back to the room and crashed. I was beat from the day.



A day trip to the ‘friendly island’

Friday, August 12th, 2011

Today we got up early and headed to the harbor. We found a $5/day lot to park the car, but it’s really a scam 😉 It’s $5/day until 5pm. Since the ferry comes in at 5:45pm, we had to purchase another $5 pass that was good until 11:59pm. Oh well, it was still $2 cheaper than all the other lots.

The day’s agenda was to take a day trip to Moloka’i. We booked an all day guided tour. The island of Moloka’i is the 5th largest of the Hawaiian islands. Our tour was booked through the Moloka’i Ferry company. The tour included round trip transportation, a personal guide and lunch.

The tour included the following sites:

  • Pala’au State Park and Kalaupapa Overlook
  • Coffees of Hawaii
  • Purdy’s Macadamia Nut Farm
  • Father Damien Church
  • Kaunakakai Town with an afternoon stop for lunch.

We boarded the ferry and decided to sit on the top deck. The ride over was a bit rough and wet. The worse part of the trip was that some sort of soot or grease was being kicked out from the engines and got onto everything on the top deck. It basically ruined my favorite pair of shorts. I am not sure if any laundry chemicals at home will get it out. 🙁 “I will try writing them a letter to see if they will do anything about it, but I doubt it.”

Angie says: They have these t-shirts in the stores that say, “I survived the road to Hana.”  Forget that – they need shirts that say “I survived the ferry to Moloka’i.”  If you get sea sick, make sure you take some medication before you leave.  Luckily, Angie doesn’t get seasick and it was not too bad so I didn’t get sick either.

The ferry ride to Moloka’i took about an hour and forty-five minutes. We disembarked and met our tour guide Rudy. Rudy was a great guide. He loves to talk and share the history about his island. He has been a tour guide for 17 years and has seen the highs and lows of tourism on the island.

We boarded his Van and headed on our tour. Our first stop was at: Pala’au State Park. We were able to see the Kalaupapa Overlook that looks down upon the old leper colony. The view was breathtaking. From our guide, we learned that they do not allow anyone on the peninsula without a guide and limit the number of visitors to 100. They also have mule rides down the mountain, but because of the timing for the ferries, they can’t offer day trips. You would have to spend the night on Moloka’i then go in the morning. Perhaps a future trip we might do that.

In the same park they have the Phallic rock. This was a spiritual rock that is said to give fertility to many woman who have gone to it. Our guide says that many people have become pregnant after visiting the rock. I think it’s probably a legend, but hey, better safe than sorry (Angie and I are keeping our distance). The rock looks more like a turtle to me.

The area has signs asking visitors not to leave any money or tokens on the rock. Apparently all sorts of bizarre items have been left by people. We chose not to tempt fate and left after taking a picture. After a quick bathroom stop, Rudy gave us some more history about Father Damien and the leper colony. I also learned that the most populous tree on the island is the Norfolk Pine. I really like them and will be researching if they can be grown in San Diego.  They would like nice to the right and left of our property.

We loaded back up into the bus and headed to our next stop. We visited a Hawaiian owned macadamia nut farm. Purdy’s Macadamia Nut Farm is a very small 5 acre farm that he runs with his family. The Macadamia nut farm has trees that are about 90 years old. We learned that it takes about 4-5 years for a tree to start bearing it’s nuts. The most interesting things about a Macadamia nut tree is that it bears nuts all year round. A single tree can contain every life-cycle stage of a nut.

Several trees had each stage in them, it was pretty neat to see that. As we looked at the nuts on the ground, he told us that the only way to tell if a nut is ripe is to remove the husk after it falls from the tree and the shell will be a nice shiny brown. Only nuts that fall to the ground are harvested. It’s sort of like BBQ, it’s ready when it’s ready.

Once the nuts are harvested and husks removed, they are soaked in water then slightly roasted. This prevents the nut from cracking during roasting while the roasting shrinks the nut a little so that it doesn’t stick to the shell when cracking it. We got to crack the nuts with a hammer and a piece of U-shaped leather to keep the nut in place. We ate the nut after cracking it and it tasted good, not like the nuts you buy in a can. They had a more natural flavor to them. After cracking the nuts ourselves, we had a chance to sample lightly roasted nuts. Again, they tasted good, but more natural then the store bought. I guess that is what happens when no oils or preservatives have been added to the product.

After leaving the Nut Farm (pun intended) we drove to the Coffees of Hawaii. We were able to sample their coffees. Although I have stopped drinking coffee, I really like their toasted coconut coffee. I liked it enough I bought a bag. We also bought some sweets and a tropical smoothie that hit the spot.

After visiting the coffee plantation, we drove to the only remaining hotel on the island. We arrived at the Hotel Molokai & Hula Shores. We sat down for lunch. It was pretty good for hotel food. We sat along the water front and watched the waves roll by. Every few seconds though we would see a coconut floating in the water and float by. At one point it seemed like a long stream of coconuts were migrating along our shoreline. I wonder if those are harvested and eaten by anyone? It seems pretty nice to just have them show up at your feet.

After lunch we toured more of the island. We drove out to see one of the last remaining and un-expanded churches built by Father Damien. This church still holds services, but is too small for many other functions. Outside the church a full height statute of Father Damien has been erected. Our guide told us the story of Father Damien‘s saint-hood and how his body was buried, then dug up and shipped back to Belgium, to be dug up again, then shipped back to Hawaii. It should be noted that many sites state that he died of Leprosy. It is now known that you do not die of the disease, but of other diseases because your body is unable to fight of those diseases. Pneumonia was the ultimate cause of his death. It’s funny that even sites like Wikipedia get it wrong. Goes to show you why you can’t believe everything you read on the Internet. You should always double and triple check the references.

Our last stop of the day was to the famous fish ponds of Moloka’i. A fish pond is basically a protected U-shaped area that blocks the ocean, starting from beach and ending at the beach. It is used to capture fish by having them swim into the pond when the tide is going out and trap them with gates. It is a very interesting way of capturing and breeding fish. The more I read about it, the more it makes sense to use natural behaviors and processes for fishing.

We headed back to the main part of town, which is basically a couple blocks long. It’s the home of the only stop signs on the island. We walked around the town and checked out the local shops. We purchased some postcards and ice cream. Most of the shops were closed because it was later in the afternoon. Many shops appear to be under remodel or closed altogether. We returned to the ferry landing and said our goodbyes. If you have the opportunity, I highly recommend you take this tour and ask for Rudy as your tour guide. If you go, might I suggest taking a spare T-shirt, as he seems to like shirts from all over the world.

We boarded the ferry for the rough ride back to Maui. It wasn’t all that bad, and I was able to get some sleep on the trip back. Since we had parked in the all day lot, we decided to eat dinner in Lahaina. I had heard a few people talking about the BBQ place there so I thought I would give it a try. The place is Famous Dave’s and I know it’s a chain, but since I had never eaten there, we would give it a try. The overall verdict is the price was reasonable, the portions large, but the BBQ itself was not all that great. The brisket rates a C+ on my scale. Angie didn’t like it at all as she said it had a really weird taste. I think the taste was due to the rub or sauce they used. I thought it was too dry and chewy. Not the best on my scale. The pork ribs rated a B+. They would have been a lot higher, but they left the outer membrane on the ribs. This is an absolute no-no in my book and just shows that they are lazy or too busy to prep the ribs properly. All in all though, for a commercial BBQ joint that has places in multiple states, I would recommend eating there if you are craving BBQ, just don’t order the Brisket.

After dinner we walked back to the car. Angie wanted shave ice again for dessert, so we drove back to Local Boys Shave Ice for some shave ice. We then drove back to the hotel and relaxed in the spa and then headed to bed.

A Maui Sunrise

Tuesday, August 9th, 2011

This was our crazy insane day. Yes we woke up at 1:45am this morning, before anyone else was up. The only people awake are the hotel cleaning crew, other tourists as crazy as us and people coming home from the bars.

I have been wanting to do two things since our last trip here 20 years ago. The Na Pali coast and see the sunrise over Mount Haleakala. This trip we made a point of booking the trip early. I choose the company Bike it Maui because of all the tours out there they seemed to be the most organized and reasonably priced.

The shuttle driver picked us up at 2:10am and we stopped at one other hotel in our area. He then drove down to Wailea to two more hotels to pick up the remaining guests. After the van was loaded, we drove back to the central part of Maui and picked up one of the other tour guides and  had a quick stop for restrooms, coffee and snacks. We loaded back up and headed on to pick up the bikes. Once the bike trailer was loaded up, we headed up the mountain. The ride up the mountain was dark, so you don’t get to see anything exciting.

Just outside the National Park, we dropped off the trailer with the bikes and we were given windbreakers, gloves, hats and pants. After the trailer was unhitched and the cloths passed out we continued on up the mountain. The rest of the ride up you started to see more cars. A little further up the mountain we reached the parking lot and it seemed pretty full. Fortunately, all of the tour buses have their own place to park so we pulled in and unloaded.

It was about 30 minutes before sunrise, so we had some time to walk around and find a good spot. The temperature was pretty cold and I was glad I had gloves and a hat. The wind was blowing as well, but there were enough people around that they were a windbreak for us. The skyline was amazing. We were above the cloud line, so you could not see much of the crater, but it led to some amazing colors as the sun got closer to the horizon. We started to see a little red line on the horizon, in the distance as it slowly grew brighter.

All of a sudden, a little arc appeared above the horizon as the sun started to rise. It grew larger as the outline of the sun could now be seen and it slowly ascended in the sky. The colors started to brighten up the sky as the sun rose higher. The sun finally crested the horizon and was now a complete sphere of light. The landscape was almost surreal and reminded me of a lunar landscape. The clouds made it even more eerie. I would like to come back here sometime and just spend the entire day hiking the rim.


We loaded up the van and headed back down the hill to the visitors center. This was used as a bathroom break, as the one at the top of the mountain was very crowded and this one had nobody. Just before we reloaded the van, the park ranger came out to raise the flag. It clearly wasn’t something he did everyday because he started to put the state flag on the pole before the US flag. I was about to say something before he finally realized it was wrong and fixed it.

We traveled back down to where we dropped off the trailer. We unloaded and they took the bikes out of the trailer. Once everyone had their own bike we started riding down the mountain. It was a pretty slow pace as most people were on their brakes for the entire time. I could smell the brakes from the other riders. The ride was about 15.26 miles. My GPS said at one point we reached 40mph, but I am not sure I believe that.We descended about 5000′ through a number of curves and 180 degree turns. The scenery was beautiful. The landscape changed from scrub-brush landscape at the top to forest-like in the middle to farmland towards the bottom. We stopped a few times for photos and a clothing break. Once we got down about half way, the temperature warmed up so that we didn’t need our jackets and pants. It started to rain just before the end of the ride, so we had to stop. This particular company does not allow its tour to ride in wet weather. While we are on mountain bikes with wide tires, it would be fine for most, but the one person that crashes would probably not be good for tourism.

We loaded the bikes back up into the van and then traveled down to drop off our guide. We then stopped at the Dunes at Maui Lani Golf Course for breakfast. The breakfast was pretty good and the portions were large. The only odd things was Coffee was included, but hot tea was $3 extra. After breakfast, we dropped off our guests in the reverse order we picked them up in. We returned to our Hotel about noon. We promptly headed up to the room and went to sleep.

After a few good hours of sleep we decided to go get some dinner. We went to Hula Grill & Barefoot Bar to watch the sunset and eat dinner. After dinner, I spent some time in the spa relaxing and helping my body recover and then off to bed.

A semi-rest day

Tuesday, August 9th, 2011

Today was a day of resting after our long day in Hana yesterday. We got up and drive into Lahaina. There was not a lot of parking available but we found a free three hour lot and after circling for a little while found a spot.

We walked a little ways down the street and found a breakfast place that served crepes. The Maui Swiss Cafe is a little out of the way place that serves made from scratch food. Angie and I ordered crepes, I kept with the Hawaiian tradition and ordered mine with ham and pineapple. We walked around Front street and check out the many shops there. There are a few chain restaurants, but a number of local shops.

We headed over to the ferry station to book our transportation to Lana’i later in the week. There are a lot of local artists that setup booth in the area around the library. There is a large banyan tree there they sit under and sell their stuff. We stopped into a shave ice place called: Local Boys Shave Ice. I think the best shave ice places have the metal machines and not the plastic ones. They seem to do a much better job. The shop was a bit crowded, but was worth the wait.

After sitting and eating our shave ice, we drove back to hotel. We went out to the pool and relaxed. We swam in pool and under the waterfalls. Afterwards, we sat under the palm trees and rested, read and sipped on drinks.

We decided to eat dinner in Lahaina since we had the Entertainment book. We picked a Japanese restaurant called Kobe. It’s pretty much the same place as Bennihana. Dinner was good, but I think chicken and shrimp is the way to go and not beef. After dinner we drove back to the hotel as we had to get to bed early for our 1:45 wake up call.