Well this trip is starting out with a bang. Jo & Er told us last night that they are expecting in September. Those two are too fertile for there own good. Sure starts out the trip with a happy glow. Berni did a great job planning this trip. Plane leaves LAX at 12:30 PM. Leisurely breakfast and trip to Gym, trip really started last night with Wendy and Roger coming up on the late train, picked them up at 11 PM. Didn't get to bed to 12:30 AM so sleeping in was a good plan for all. Packed the La Baron to the gills. Rog had camera bag on lap and my duffel was between the seats. Wendy said she felt like a little egg packed in a protective carton. Dropped luggage off at Northwest then parked and walked back from Park One thanks for the coupon Jo. We are at the gate in plenty of time. Saturdays are as good as it gets at LAX. DC10 is full; these are some of the smallest seats ever. Thank you Berni for setting next to me. Berni gets a lot of sleep because Indian in full turban is setting in front of her with his seat reclined. No way she can see over him to see movie. Food was barely edible. A safe trip but typical of air travel as a price driven commodity. We fly into Honolulu then catch a flight to Kauai. Berni gets us on an earlier flight because travel agent has allowed plenty of time for late arrival. After arrival at Kauai we pick up luggage and we're off to Pono Kai Resort. Third floor room with great view, 100 feet from ocean sleeps 8, 4 in luxury, thank you Irene for buying the raffle ticket. Went to an up scale restaurant called Fish and Chowder House. Beginning of a trend of great meals. Everyone crashed at 10 PM, 12 PM LA time.
Can tell we're on vacation slept 8 hours. Got up and watched sunrise at 7:30AM on lanai (balcony). Went down to pool for continental breakfast (donut and juice) and a sales pitch on the tours and activities that were available. Signed up for several including Kayaking and wind surfing, looks like a very fun week. Berni, Wendy and Roger went for a massage at poolside while I walked to a fruit market that I spotted last night while driving to dinner. I brought back Kiwi's, pineapples including a sugar loaf pineapple (white low acid), papaya (local product $0.33 a piece) and some thing covered in little hooked spines that is supposed to taste like a grape once peeled. The sugar loaf was delicious and a big hit. I plan to buy one a day until I get tired of them or leave the Island. Fruit salad for breakfast since donut did not cover it. The massage was reported to be wonderful by all three. After getting organized, off to Olympic Café for a very good lunch then a drive down south to a Lutheran church on German hill. German engineers and technicians who came here to run sugar mill built Church 1890's. Church was rebuilt after being destroyed in 1982 hurricane. Must have been rebuilt well because there was another hurricane in 1992. In fact there have been hurricanes in 72, 82, 92 and they are worried about 02 coming up. Very impressive church with an interesting grave yard. Next was a drive down to Spouting Horn on the south coast. Lava tube which the waves break against and shoot water into the air like a geyser. Neat place and locals provide more shopping opportunities (I bought plenty of books). Stopped at a local fruit stand and bought another sugar loaf for Monday and a fruit called a sour sop which the natives freeze and claim tastes like a natural fruit sherbet. Drove through a mountain park/Adventist school. Talked to the caretaker. He was from Oklahoma and had been working there for 20 years, cheap cabins $35 a day. Toured the southern part of the Island and viewed a fishpond on a large river, early Hawaiian aquaculture, raising fish for food. Went to the Bull Shed for dinner. Berni held out for an ocean view so we waited a few minutes. Well worth the wait good meals with a great view, Prime rib for Berni and I and swordfish for the kids. Good food at a reasonable prices a very good value. Dame de Pic and hot tub finished the day.
Up to see sunrise. Not as good as Sunday more clouds but still spectacular. Off to Safeway to get breakfast fixings and other sundries. Fruit, cottage cheese, frosted mini-wheats and milk for all my friends. We are headed south again today to a sugar plantation called Kilohana and a restaurant called Gaylord's. We stop to buy sunglasses for Berni and Roger, wind, sun and contacts don't mix and they have both left theirs home. The Plantation house has been turned into a restaurant and 9 gift shops. It is a spectacular 16,000 square foot house that once housed 3 people and their servants. We are here to ride in a wagon pulled by 2 Clydesdales through the sugar fields and get a little history while doing it and have lunch afterwards. Driver is very informative and knows a lot about sugar production. Most of the plantations are stopping production due to cheap labor in Brazil and the Caribbean. The price of sugar per pound is the same as it was in 1870. Some interesting laws in Hawaii. You can't ferment sugar into rum. Written into the state constitution, missionary influence. Great relaxing tour. Lunch on the veranda at Gaylord's is not to be missed, it is spectacular. You feel like you are in some movie, trade winds blowing, fantastic view of water fountain, manicured grounds with exotic plants, impeccable service and great food!!! You feel like you could set here all afternoon and order food and drinks till sunset. We almost did. Drinks, hors d'oevres, Main course, Dessert, coffee. The girls and Roger went off shopping while I enjoyed the view, read and paid the bill. Even I think some of the shops are neat in this place and the furniture adds to a great ambiance. They have a neat poster of a Pan- Am clipper seaplane arriving in Honolulu hanging in the men's bathroom. Both Roger and I would like a copy but we can't find it for sale. From Gaylord's it is off to the post office, Berni has been working off her backlog of Christmas thank you notes and also allowing me to participate as well. Kauai Museum in Lihue is next. Only had 45 minutes before closing so a little rushed but a lot of neat stuff and worth the effort. Rog and I discuss a map that shows Tahiti east of Hawaii. Will have to look that up when I get home. Back to Pono Kai and I teach Roger how to play Cribbage while the Girls make leis. Rog catch's on fast but scoring on paper is a drag. Will have to find Cribbage board if we want to play much. The leis the Girls make are beautiful. We play some more Dame then off to dinner. Had planned to go to Bubba Burger but they close at 8 PM. We fall back to the Olympic Café and they provided another fine meal. Stop in at Beezers the local soda fountain for a little Ice Cream. Lots of Elvis memorabilia at Beezers, which is a big, hit with Berni.
Still eating Sugar loaf with cottage cheese for breakfast. Off to the North shore to see the Kilauea Lighthouse. Great view of the rugged North coast. Lots of sea birds. Other than wild chickens we have not seen lots of bird life until now. Spinning Dolphins leaping out of the Sea. They would jump at least 6' in the air and spin 3 or 4 time before returning to the sea for another leap. A spectacular site. Ate Lunch at the Kilauea Lighthouse Bistro. Good Lunch Fish Burrito. Bought stuff for Wednesday breakfast at Kilauea Bakery. They have Tables outside this Bakery that look like they may be teak or some other expensive wood. Look like dining room tables. In LA they would have graffiti carved into them. Dropped the kids off at Hawaii Helicopters for their 1-hour tour of the Island. Berni and I went down to Anini Beach for a little beach time. Kids loved the Helo ride, Roger more than Wendy did. She got a little airsick but said the views were spectacular even with the airsickness. Back to the timeshare for hula lessons for the Girls then some Dame. Old folks are ahead so far. Dinner at Bubba Burger. Bubba came from Glendale CA. Go figure. Good Burgers. Was night of misplaced purses and wallets. Berni left hers at Bubba's for a 30-minute vacation before she discovered it MIA. A return to Bubba's recovered same. My wallet was MIA in the back seat of the car for 3 hours or so. Another stop at Beezers met the owner Kris Eriksonn. Wendy and Berni did some shopping at the ABC store sort of an up-scale 7-11 type convenience store.
Roger and I are up early. Have to be at Aloha Kayak at 7:30 AM. We are off for a 2 ½ mile paddle up the Hale'A River with a hike at the end of the paddle. Roger and I were early and Aloha was operating on Hawaii Time, so we didn't get started until 8:15 AM, Kelly our guide overslept. Real nice 18 year old. 2-man kayak, guy in back steers and paddles while guy in front just paddles. I started in back, about ½ mile into trip lost balance and we tipped over. Trying to do to much between steering and paddling also a little bigger than the average human so center of gravity is higher than most. The river is only 5 feet deep and Kelly helped us remount kayak. I moved to front, which worked better. After we got back in kayak Kelly told us of crabs called "Samoan crab" which occupy the river. Called Samoan because of their size and bad temper, may have been pulling our leg but sounded sincere. No matter who steered we zigzagged up river and were able to turn a 2-½ mile trip into 3-½ mile at least. We got to see fishpond up close and place where Indiana Jones swung to seaplane in "Raiders". Kauai has been used in lots of movies. After zigzagging up river I was ready to get out of kayak and hike a little. Hike in jungle was a lot of fun. I jumped off a ledge and Roger swung off a rope into a Chiefs swimming pool. Entering into this pool in ancient times was a capital offence. Shockingly cold water. Kelly was well informed about the local flora and showed us coffee plants and passion fruit. Brought wild passion fruit sample back to girls but they were not as impressed as Roger and I. Sweet gelatin layer on outside of coffee bean. No coffee taste, which is a good thing since neither Rog nor I like coffee. Kelly showed us a lava tube under a waterfall where an ancient Chief once hid to save his life. Reported to rejuvenate ones soul. Roger and I both tried it, tight fit for me. I did feel better after the immersion. Ride down the river was in a nice large outboard powered catamaran. Quite a lot of fun and a great experience. Up to Anini Beach for a wind surfing lesson. Berni, Rog and Wen dropped me off for a 3- hour lesson with Celeste. Left over snack from kayak tour is lunch for me. Wind surfing board is a little small for me, which makes balance all the more critical, high C.G. not to mention weight, make this an interesting 3 hours. When I try this again I should find a 12-foot board or lose 60 pounds or both. I must have fallen off 40 times; lady on the beach complimented me on my determination. My longest ride was about 150 feet. Lagoon is perfect place to learn no waves and 5 to 6 feet deep all the way to the reef. Very large lagoon about 1/3 of a mile across. Spent ½ hour on beach discussing theory and 2 hours in the water, finished up at 3:30 PM. Washed off sea water in a nice shower on beach and ate a couple of Celeste's tangerines, tasty after all that salt water in my mouth. Sat around and watched a young man use the electrical outlet in the roof structure over the picnic tables to power his leather burning tool. He was hand tooling a leather wallet. Looked Anglo with long hair and beard. Wore a snood to keep his hair out of the way. There is a whole sub-culture here on the north side, which can be loosely described as surf- hippies. Very few material possessions. Another member in his "Kauai Piano Repair" van pulled up and plugged in after the young man left. I imagine there is quite a completion for these few park receptacles. I gave my wallet to Berni for safe keeping, I had my book but I must admit I was not the most patient waiting for their return. The agreed upon pickup time was 4 PM, the actual was 5 PM. In that hour I started off writing an adventure novel in my mind. How a stalwart JPL engineer survives on Kauai for 3 days with no money, credit cards or ID. It involves a friendly Samoan and a beautiful Island Girl. Wait for the paperback. Here's what the other ¾ were up to. Berni, Roger and Wendy went lunch to Zelo's beach house in Hanalei. A Health food kinda place with a Southwestern flair, Bizarre but good. The Girls took Rog to Koe'e and Roger did 3 miles of an 11-mile hike down the Pali coast. The first 3 miles are reported to be very grueling and most people turn around after the first ½ mile. The Girls went off to Limahuli Gardens. The walk through the garden took much longer than expected which explains the late pick up. Travel on the North side of the Island requires travel over several 1-lane bridges, which takes more time than expected. I must admit the "Bear" was a little grumpy when he was picked up. We ate the sour sop, which was only OK ice cream much better. After a Fabulous Thai dinner the "Bear" was in a much better humor. A little more Dame and off to bed.
Berni and I are off to the Movie Tour. Over 60 movies have been filmed on Kauai. We will be spending 5 hours touring movie sites in an air-conditioned van seeing video clips and eating a gourmet lunch. I made fruit salad that contained star fruit that Celeste gave me, very good. First breakfast at Ono's Family Restaurant. Ono is Hawaiian for delicious. It was. We have been having Fruit and cottage cheese for breakfast most mornings good and good for you. This morning was BIG Monster omelet. Cute little place whole family looks like it's working there. Great Place plan to bring the Rog & Wen over here on Friday or Saturday. The tour was lots of fun. Saw locations for "Donavan's Reef", "Six days Seven Nights", "South Pacific" and several Elvis movies. The Elvis Movies feature the Coco Palms Hotel. This was the Highlight of the tour. The Coco Palms was the first tourist hotel on the Island built in 1953. The Hotel is closed because it was extensively damaged in the 1992 hurricane. AETNA their insurer claimed pre-existing conditions and refused to pay for rebuilding. The suits have just been settled this year. Insurance companies grand theft with a typewriter. The Hotel is built around a Royal Fish Pond, whoever rebuilds will have to preserve the pond and deal with 46 acres of state owned Coconut Palms. We had our picture taken in front of Elvis's bungalow. Charlie the groundskeeper was full of neat stories about the hotel. The Bar & Restaurant had great light fixtures and mosaic murals. A great place and we felt bad that so much of it may disappear when it is rebuilt. While we were out touring Wendy and Roger took the car touring. The following is by Wen:
Roger and Wendy slept in and then went for a walk on the Pono Kai Beach. The sand stretches a long distance down the beach and the sand on this side of the island was soft feeling and white colored. After our walk we played Croquet. It was a very scenic Croquet course under the palms. Roger did laundry between Croquet rounds and we were all happy to have clean clothes again. We decided to go see the West Side of the island since we had been told all the sides of the island are unique and different. We stopped at a Coffee/Deli Shop on the way and got a picnic lunch. We drove about 10 miles to Salt Pond beach. We couldn't find any salt ponds but the beach was lovely. Very calm waves and surf on the southwest side of the Island. There were tall elegant palm trees and we ate our lunch on a table and bench below them. The Deli was a find from a book "Underground Kauai" Mom and Dad found and it had great recommendations. We never would have thought to buy sandwiches at a coffee shop but it was a good recommendation. We even tried a passion fruit cheesecake for dessert, which was as good as it sounds. After lunch we drove north into the mountains and saw Wiamea Canyon. In Hawaii they call it the "little Grand Canyon". Mark Twain had come to Kauai and he had given it the name. It was quite a sight. Unlike the Grand Canyon it was formed by a crack forming in the surface during volcanic activity and then further eroded by rainfall and the resulting river. The walls of the canyon are sheer and steep and we were told there are herds of mountain goats that live on the sheer walls. They are good at hiding and we didn't spot any. When there weren't any helicopter flying over head the canyon was silent and awesome in its size and barren beauty. The soil was dark red also and with little vegetation it was unlike anywhere else on the Island. It started to drizzle, so we decided to head back down the hill. Of course, there were chickens at this high elevation - the chickens are everywhere.
Kids found the Pan Am poster in their travels. Wendy's right the chickens are every where. They were brought to the Island by the Polynesians as food and they have no natural predators. They are free range and small and not good eating by modern standards. The Cocks crow all the time not just in the morning and can be very irritating. We joined up in the afternoon. Another round of card playing then a late dinner at Dukes Canoe Club. This place is named after Duke Kahanamoku, a famous Hawaiian Olympic swimmer and surfer. We arrive a little early and walk down stairs to the Bar for a drink, then back up stairs for dinner. We have a table for 4 on the Lanai with an Ocean view. This place reminds me of a cross between Tahitian Terrace and the Tiki Room at Disneyland but more authentic. Great ambiance and great food. Rog and I have Macadamia nut encrusted Ohah (a fish) Berni had Opaka (pink snapper) Best salad bar on the Island. I also order Hula pie. This thing was huge. Macadamia nut Ice cream Pie chocolate covered with an Oreo crust. We got 4 spoons and dug in. I must admit I ate the most. Berni ordered Kona Coffee cheesecake, which she took back to the fridge. Great end to a fun day.
Happy Birthday Wendy. Fruit and cottage cheese for breakfast then off to the North coast one more time. We are looking for a local beach called "Tunnels". It's about a 1-hour drive and we never would have found it with out the help from "Underground Kauai". This is a great beach with some of the best snorkeling from a fish standpoint that I have ever seen. I burn a 24-exposure roll in Fred's Nikonos (underwater camera) in about 30 minutes. Did not bring flash just to bulky but lighting is good with ASA 400 film, hoping for the best. On the way back we stop at Ono Char Burger. The movie tour guide claims it's the best burger on the Island. While we wait for Burgers the girls hit the post office next door. They decide the Pan Am poster is better mailed. We all need to find a bathroom but there is none at Ono's so they recommend a local park with facilities. That works out just fine and we get to eat our burgers in a happy state. Down the road from this park is another fantastic beach. Kauai is noted for its beaches and it is justified. Back to the room so Roger and I can shower up and wash off our equipment especially the Nikonos. Salt water is hard on everything. Off to the Luau. At 5:30 PM they are advertising the unearthing of the Emu. Wendy protests that she does not want to eat cute food. Turns out Emu is the Hawaiian word for Pig or the oven it's cooked in a little unsure of which. Wendy is relieved because full-grown pigs are not cute. They have a group hula performance as a warm-up and Wendy got to demo what she learned Tuesday. She did great. They use the same song (We're going to the Hokelao) and move when ever they try to teach the mainlanders. The dinner was buffet style and very good. The entertainment was better. Lots of Hula and Tahitian dances. Great live musicians. We had a great time. They selected victims from the audience to dance on stage. I was glad I was passed over but did not prevent me from laughing at their plight on stage. Back to the room for Berni's cheesecake, which she shared, and some cards a run to the hot tub then bed.
Getaway day. Last couple of mornings Berni and I have been waking up early and moving from the back bedroom to the couch for Berni and the chase lounge on the Lanai for me to sleep to the sounds of the surf and wake up to the sunrise. I made one final fruit salad, sugar loaf pineapple papaya and kiwi. We had sugar loaf 7 morning. Best pineapple in the world in my opinion. We packed and checked out then had Brunch at Ono's family restaurant. I tried the "Tropical shorty" which is a short stack of Macadamia coconut pancakes topped with bananas and whip cream topped with coconut syrup. I also had eggs Ono which was poached eggs over ham on English muffins with hollandaise sauce and papaya. Great meal we did not have a bad one the entire time we where on Kauai. We then took the Smiths boat tour up to the Fern Grotto. This is the only navigable rive in Hawaii. There was a Mid- western bus tour on the boat with us. The tour guide was vamping for time and he got people to come up and tell jokes some funny and some very corny. The ride up the river was neat and informative. Boat captain confirmed Samoan crab story glad we didn't get bit. Flat bottomed boat that must hold 200 people. Grotto is the mouth of a Lava tube that went for miles but the state has sealed it up to prevent injury. The drought, hurricane damage and badly planned tree cutting has reduced its splendor but still a very impressive place. Gave the girls a taste of what Roger and I saw on the Kayaking tour. We had Hula dancers and singers on the down river leg of the trip. The girls did some last minute shopping at Hilo Hatties. We are coming home with more than we brought the La Baron will be packed to the gills. I dropped everyone off with bags at the airport and returned car. Hopped shuttle back then hooked up with group. Berni has got us on an earlier flight to Honolulu so we will have time for lunch and some more shopping. Flight is only half-full hope we are as lucky on the DC10 home. Lunch is Burger King better than airplane food but not Kauai. We did not have a bad meal on that Island and a couple of the meals ranks with some of the best and most memorable meals in my entire life. DC10 is 90% full RATS!! Great movie "First in Show". None of us have seen it and we all love it, considering out diverse tastes this is a real accomplishment. Catch up on my journal on plane. Looking forward to Sunday and Home. Arrive at gate at 12:55 AM. Hike to Park One retrieve car and pack to the gills. The highest speed on Kauai is 50 MPH, which is strictly enforced. I got back into freeway driving in LA that means 70 + and I may have been channeling my Dad who when headed home get there in a hurry. The Girls thought I was driving too fast, and at 2 AM I may not have been the most gracious in accepting this criticism. We got home safe and our heads hit the pillows at 2:22 AM. Epilog: The super bowl sucked but Irene's party was great. Old folks won the card game 4-3 .The Kids took the 4 PM train home with Berni providing transportation. Mail gets to California very quickly from Kauai. Erik was flying to the Big Island (Hawaii) for work while we were flying home. No fun for him trying to program with a headache at 14,000 feet. It was one of the best vacations I have ever had. Thanks for inspiring the Journal Nina it has been fun.