Our Honeymoon

(July 2002)

Monday, July 1st

Fly from Colorado Springs to Salt Lake City, enjoy coffee in the airport. Fly from Salt Lake to Honolulu - have first Mai Tai and some BBQ nachos. Fly from Honolulu to Kona, rent a convertible and head into town past the fields of black lava rock. Our original hotel Kona-By-The-Sea was overbooked so we stayed at Kanaloa at Kona. Unfortunately this place had no air conditioning, was hot! There was a pleasant, pervasive smell of roasting peppers in the air. We had a great dinner at Royal Thai. That night and the next morning a gecko was running the walls of our room, Paul used a long stick to scare it out onto the balcony.

Tuesday, July 2nd

Rain in the morning, still very hot. Checked into Kona By The Sea - a great condo with ocean view and a balcony overlooking the pool. We headed out for Volcano National Park, stopping at Greenwell Coffee Plantation for a tour. On the tour we saw coffee bean trees and how the beans are processed. We picked avocados right off the tree - hard as a rock - placed in a bag to ripen. We ate "apple bananas" - tiny, fat bananas. We bought some Kona coffee for ourselves, will return later for coffee gifts. Stopped at a roadside fruit stand, bought mangos, papayas, apples, limes and a small green fruit. Near Volcano National Park we had trouble finding lunch food, just no restaurants out in the middle of nowhere. Finally found a place to eat mediocre sandwiches near the Park.

Drove into Volcano National Park, heard that the lava flow was just 10 minutes from the parking lot, and headed there - had to see the lava! On the way we saw some beautiful fern forests and a fire crew working to contain a fire. We had to park along the side of the road and walked a ways in a very stiff, hot headwind. Folks returning from the lava flow said "It's worth it". After walking across the solid black lava veins we encountered the flowing lava, a silver colored ooze which occasionally broke through to its orange interior. Slow moving, but steady, and very hot - it was worth the walk/hike, to see this powerfully hot force of nature. We left the park about 6:00PM, driving the windy road back to Kailua-Kona, and stopped to get take-out pizza from Bianelli's. We mixed our own Mai-Tais from a Trader-Vics mix, not great but good.

Wednesday, July 3rd

We lazed about in the morning, shopped in Kailua-Kona, bought souvenirs at Hilo Hatties and had lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe. While walking around town we saw a banyon tree - huge branches that seemed to become trunks and then roots. That evening we attended a Luau. We were not impressed by the food or mai-tais, the dancing was very good, it rained lightly. Ate ahi poke with arame (raw tuna with seaweed), pork cooked in a dirt oven, potato/bean salad, chicken/spinach/coconut milk, mahi-mahi.

Thursday, July 4th

We drove northeast to Akaka Falls and the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Gardens, and Waipio Valley. Had breakfast at Parker Ranch area in Waimea, cold and misty and we felt underdressed! Took a rainy hike at Akaka Falls. We loved the Botanical Gardens, took many photos. Had lunch at What's Shakin' - a fantastic ginger teriyaki tempeh burger and smoothies. On the way home we swam at Kaunaoa Beach at Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, signs carried by hotel personnel announced "caution - jellyfish" - Portuguese man-of-war carried to shore by the wind. Dinner at Hugos to watch sunset - good seafood pasta but very expensive.

Friday, July 5th

Returned to Greenwell Coffee Plantation to buy gifts. Took a Fair Winds cruise for our first snorkeling adventure - to Kealakekua Bay - site of Captain Cook monument. The water was outstandingly clear, many varieties of fish and excellent guides - water was not tropically warm though. Back to Kona-by-the-Sea, Cath enjoyed the hot tub, Paul drove into town to get Thai take-out, our final dinner in Kona before traveling to Maui.

Saturday, July 6th

Worked a crossword puzzle together. Packed for flight to Maui on Hawaiian Airlines - no ramps at gate, just walk on and off the planes on the tarmac. In Maui we picked up another Chrysler convertible and drove from Kahului to Honokowai and the Embassy resort - the pink place. What a place - valet service, complimentary breakfasts and excellent (free) mai-tais. We upgraded from "garden view" to "ocean view" room, reduced from an additional $100/night to $50/night because we were newlyweds. Room prices were exorbitant - $450/night. Had free/excellent Mai-Tais and then walked to Pizza Paradisio - took takeout back to our room. Early to bed with a plan to leave hotel @ 3:30 AM for Haleakala sunrise.

Sunday, July 7th

Left hotel on time and drove along dark roads up to the Haleakela visitor center - could not find any coffee along the way. Arrive on top as the sky was brightening. Many people were already there on the east side of the summit look out. It was very cold & windy, with long pants and turtleneck and fleece/hat/gloves - still not warm. Walked up a short trail away from crowds to a higher point. There were many clouds over the horizon but we still witnessed a beautiful sunrise. Left the lookout point immediately after sunrise to find huge bicycle caravans preparing to descend along the road. In our hurry to get ahead of them we never thought to drive the remaining distance to see inside the dormant volcano crater.

Arrive back in Kahalui about 6:30AM and went to Starbucks. Then back to the Embassy hotel for "free breakfast for first day of our stay", which turned out to be a sales pitch for several activity concessionaires after which a personal concierge sat with us at our breakfast table to "help" us schedule events during our stay. She also talked us into attending a 90-minute tour - which was neither only 90 minutes nor a tour - in exchange for $75 worth of discounts on our activities. We let her make reservations for Roy's on that night and a magic show at Warren & Annabelle's for Monday night in exchange for a time-share presentation the following morning at 8:30AM.

We napped until about noon, then rented snorkeling gear and headed for Kapalua Bay. Relatively good snorkeling but not as scenic as Kealakekua Bay on the Big Island. Went to try Black Rock in Kaanapali but Cath was too cold to swim again. Paul checked it out and saw a sea turtle. Back at the hotel we showered and had mai-tais, then went to Roy's. Cath loved the udon noodle primavera and banana lumpia, but Paul did not care for the flat iron filet (never been a fan of iron) and the chocolate souffle was way too rich.

Monday, July 8th

Had complimentary breakfast (suspiciously similar to previous day's special free breakfast/sales pitch) then endured 2 hours of agonizing decision-making over "fee simple" resort ownership. After many "no"s, the nice salesperson escorted us to another nice salesperson who succeeded in selling us an 8-day stay in either Maui, Kawai, Lake Tahoe or Orlando within the next 2 years. We're still not sure if we did the right thing, but it is fun to know that we will have a reasonably assured return to Hawaii with the kids.

We left in a hurry to get to Anne's house and talked the whole way about values and lifestyle in relations to the vacation plan. Found Anne's place easily in Kihei. Picked up lunch and ate in a condo where Anne works, picked up Gary and went snorkeling two places - La Perouse far south, and Big Beach a little farther north. Much less to see both places in the water, but interesting outside views. La Perouse is accessed by a long walk over crumbly lava flow into beautiful coved shoreline. Big Beach was big by Hawaiian standards, but very rough surf and choppy water. Encountered Portugueses man-o-war again and this time got stung. Returned to Anne's for quick shower. Missed snorkel store rental return - put equipment into fenced area outside front door - but made the 6PM deadline for mai-tais with mere minutes to spare.

Dressed quickly and headed to magic show, had ahi burritos first at Maui Tacos. Got to magic show at 7:45, waited in very hot lobby to be admitted. Once inside we discovered the show was preceded by 1.5 hours of cocktails while the ghost of Annabelle played (MIDI) piano with cheering/loud waitresses singing along. Finally the magic show began at about 9:30 and continued to about 11:30PM. Magic was interspersed with much talking and many jokes - sometimes uncomfortable deriding of audience members, sometimes clean/fun humor. Home to hotel at midnight - had to park our own car - too tired to drink free champagne that was a gift from the hotel. Set alarm for 6AM to prepare to leave Maui for a day in Oahu, then home.

Tuesday, July 9th

Out of hotel by 7:50AM after breakfast. Returned car and went to agricultural check-in. Had to leave behind four avocados from Kona, 2 of which were finally ripe, and a mango. In the process of opening suitcases, Cath's wallet and travel kit fell out of her backpack. After frantic searching, almost returning to rental car place, Paul found wallet in Cath's suitcase, which lady at agricultural check-in and re-xrayed and said the wallet wasn't in there. Lines at Aloha Air were miles long, so we paid $20 to a porter to help us make our flight on time.

Short uneventful trip to Hololulu, got rental car and went straight to USS Arizona Memorial, arrived about 11:30AM. Got tickets for a 2:45PM tour and learned that the final tour was 3:00 - just made it! Had 3 hours to kill so had lunch - nothing available but hot dogs - and toured the USS Missouri. We timed it all perfectly to shop for 10 minutes in bookstore (asked many places for bullets for Tucker, but none was available) and got into tour line at 2:35. Saw (good) short film with original footage of Pearl Harbor attack and of Arizon explosion, then took shuttle to the memorial which was built directly on top of the sunken ship. The sun was not out and the water was choppy so we saw very little under the waves. Only real evidence was parts of the boat protruding and oil spots from a leak that is still occurring. It is a somber and beautiful monument.

Back to the island by 4:00PM, we headed for the north shore of Oahu, stopping at the Dole Pineapple Plantation on the way. Drove through miles of pineapple fields, found fresh pineapple and leis for trip home, also earrings for Ashlen. Found Kua Aini, a burger joint in Halemeia and had excellent burger and mahi-ortega-cheese-grilled-onion sandwich. Drive to a city park along the north shorline, walked to M. Mahatmas for shave ice but they were closed, found another place close-by. Walked the beach as the sun set and found coral. Haleweia was beautiful, picture-perfect Hawaii, slow paced and not crowded. Returned to Honolulu in less than an hour, stopping to get snorkel stuff for the kids. At the airport at 8:30PM for a 10:30PM flight, no difficulties with flight from Honolulu to Salt Lake City and home (except for narrows seats that don't allow any comfortable positions for sleeping).

Wednesday, July 10th

Back home again! Dave, Dee, Ashlen and Tucker met us at the airport. They had decorated the house with flowers and bows from the wedding gifts.