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Old 02-17-2014, 07:25 PM   #176
chopstick
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

I don't know if the lack of waves is typical or not, but I'd assume so based on the flat slope of the underlying land. OK, just looked it up on NOAA, looks like it's completely standard. Also looks like it's -19 Fahrenheit right now. Glad I went during the summer.

There was no Deadhorse before the oil drilling. It was established in 1977 as an oil camp. Oil drilling is the only thing there outside of the rare tourist that shows up. There is also some hunting, but no businesses based on it that are located there that I know of.
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Old 02-17-2014, 07:57 PM   #177
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

Great trip report! I can understand your thinking on doing all the adventure things while you are still young, but I may try some in-between type journeys in the future. I've only traveled to warmer climates (than Colorado) in the past, now I think I might be missing out, lol.
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Old 02-17-2014, 10:29 PM   #178
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

Get out there and do it, tyler!

I intend to keep on with my adventure travel stuff as long as I live and can continue to do it. It's not really a now instead of later thing. The focus on now is due to knowing my body can do these things now and the probability of that being true 20-30 years from now is much lower. Great incentive to get off my ass now, but I intend to be active as long as I can. If you can be active and have the means, go for it!

A lot of the focus on starting now instead of later is because it's easy to sit around and dream and make excuses for yourself for why you aren't following your dreams. I could still be working and making lots of money if I wanted to, but why? So that years from now I can have a bunch of money that I never get around to using until my options for using it are limited by my age or physical condition? That's bonkers! 30 years from now there is little to no chance I'll be able to hike the Kalalau Trail on Kauai all the way to Hanakapi'ai Falls. I sure as hell know 30 years from now I'm not going to regret doing that instead of spending that time working. If I hadn't done it, I would definitely regret not doing it when I still had the chance.

Get out there and do what you want to do while you still can! You never know what kind of curveballs live is gonna throw at you and when windows of opportunity may close.

Right now I'm spending a couple of months living in Vegas before heading back down to St Thomas. Got here about a month ago and will stay a few more weeks, maybe through mid-March. I've been enjoying experiencing the city and culture, playing poker here for the first time, and I've scoped out a bunch of sweet hikes that I will be taking in the next few weeks.


On the agenda for the next few weeks:

Hike in Red Rock Canyon
Caesar's Palace Bacchanal buffet (already hit Bellagio, Wynn, Aria)
Sail on Lake Mead
Visit the pinball hall of fame
Overnight trip to Death Valley for some hiking
Visit the Mandalay Bay aquarium (I love aquariums)
Ride the Deuce up and down the length of the Strip
Check out the Mob Museum, the Atomic Testing Museum, and the Neon Museum
Overnight trip to Mojave for some hiking
Check out the two wildlife refuges north of Vegas


30 years from now, am I going to look back and say "I wish I had spent those two months working some job instead of exploring Vegas!"? I don't think so.


Get out there and live your life!
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Old 02-18-2014, 12:05 AM   #179
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

Good thread, enjoyed the pictures.
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Old 02-18-2014, 10:08 AM   #180
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

I love hiking at Red Rock, there are a ton of different options and its close enough to town to go out there often. There's some really fun boulder climbing out there.

One attraction I didn't see on your list is a place called the Spearmint Rhino that's a must see in Vegas.
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Old 02-18-2014, 11:46 AM   #181
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

Quote:
Originally Posted by chopstick View Post
Get out there and do it, tyler!

I intend to keep on with my adventure travel stuff as long as I live and can continue to do it. It's not really a now instead of later thing. The focus on now is due to knowing my body can do these things now and the probability of that being true 20-30 years from now is much lower. Great incentive to get off my ass now, but I intend to be active as long as I can. If you can be active and have the means, go for it!

A lot of the focus on starting now instead of later is because it's easy to sit around and dream and make excuses for yourself for why you aren't following your dreams. I could still be working and making lots of money if I wanted to, but why? So that years from now I can have a bunch of money that I never get around to using until my options for using it are limited by my age or physical condition? That's bonkers! 30 years from now there is little to no chance I'll be able to hike the Kalalau Trail on Kauai all the way to Hanakapi'ai Falls. I sure as hell know 30 years from now I'm not going to regret doing that instead of spending that time working. If I hadn't done it, I would definitely regret not doing it when I still had the chance.

Get out there and do what you want to do while you still can! You never know what kind of curveballs live is gonna throw at you and when windows of opportunity may close.

Right now I'm spending a couple of months living in Vegas before heading back down to St Thomas. Got here about a month ago and will stay a few more weeks, maybe through mid-March. I've been enjoying experiencing the city and culture, playing poker here for the first time, and I've scoped out a bunch of sweet hikes that I will be taking in the next few weeks.


On the agenda for the next few weeks:

Hike in Red Rock Canyon
Caesar's Palace Bacchanal buffet (already hit Bellagio, Wynn, Aria)
Sail on Lake Mead
Visit the pinball hall of fame
Overnight trip to Death Valley for some hiking
Visit the Mandalay Bay aquarium (I love aquariums)
Ride the Deuce up and down the length of the Strip
Check out the Mob Museum, the Atomic Testing Museum, and the Neon Museum
Overnight trip to Mojave for some hiking
Check out the two wildlife refuges north of Vegas


30 years from now, am I going to look back and say "I wish I had spent those two months working some job instead of exploring Vegas!"? I don't think so.


Get out there and live your life!
I'm going to take your advice! You've really touched on the core issue for me, in that I am your age plus thirty years, lol. (I'm 63!) I too have lived an adventurous life until now and have been blessed to experience everything I ever dreamed of doing. Just like you, I told people my whole life that I wanted to do everything I could before I got old, so I went out there and did it.

Fast forward to today though and here I' am still alive, facing some limitations, but still yearning for the same kinds of adventures. I'm blessed in the sense that (aside from my foot fusion) I am in good health, have all the time in the world and never need to worry about money again, but my age does pose restrictions that are not entirely mental.

It's an interesting problem for me (and I'm aware that our lives look like what most people dream about, lol), but I'm going to stop looking at my limitations and instead start studying the things that I can do going forward and focus on heading towards that.

Thanks again.
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Old 02-18-2014, 11:46 PM   #182
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

salsa - Glad you have enjoyed it.

de captain - You a cab driver in Vegas now?

tylertwo - Looking forward to reading your trip reports!




One of the interesting things about being north of the Brooks Range was the number of hunters. I paid more attention to this on the way back down, or maybe there were just more then for some reason. Every so often, I'd see a pitched tent or two on the side of the road. These were mostly bow hunters from what I could tell:






It seemed like I had snuck into Deadhorse at the last possible second, because it started snowing the day I left. I did run into that snow heading south, especially as I got closer to the Brooks Range. The CRV started getting really, really muddy:






By the time I made it back to the Atigun Pass, it was pretty much covered in snow:






and the Pass itself was in pretty terrible blizzardy conditions. The few semis I saw were going like 5mph. I took a bunch of photos but they all look like white blurs. Here's one where you can kinda see the road at least:






and here's looking back up toward Atigun Pass after coming through it:





Hooray! No more snow! Well.. less, anyway.


The mud on the CRV dried out and my blue CRV became a white CRV:






and it looks like I did indeed take a photo of the little cabin/lodge place that I stayed at in Wiseman on the way back down:





Each of those doors opens to a small room with a space heater in it. Shared bathroom is behind one of those doors as well. I met a guy who had rented a passenger vehicle and was taking it up the Dalton. That's in violation of pretty much any auto rental company policy outside of a few specialty rental places. His tires were standard 1-ply highway tires, and his only spare was a donut. I talked with him for a bit about that and he changed his mind about heading any further north after I described the roads and the current conditions.

The snow pretty much completely disappeared somewhere south of Wiseman:





and eventually I made it back down to Fairbanks. I knew I wanted to get down to Anchorage and had read about the Denali Highway, so I headed south from Fairbanks to Paxson, where I picked it up:






The Denali Highway is an E-W highway leading from Paxson to Denali. Here's the Wikipedia description of its condition:

Quote:
The highway is now little used and poorly maintained, and closed to all traffic from October to mid-May each year.[3] Only the easternmost 21.3 miles (34.3 km) and westernmost 2.6 miles (4.2 km) are paved; whether the remainder should be paved as well is a continual source of debate. Washboarding and extreme dust are common, the recommended speed limit is 30 mph (48 km/h).
They aren't kidding. This road was on average, worse than the Dalton. From the people I have spoken with who have driven both, this is a common consensus. I was going 15-20mph for most of it. My plan had been to get across the highway and stay the night in Denali, but there was no way that was going to happen at the pace I was going, so I camped along the highway instead.

I think I was the only non-hunter on the highway. Lots and lots of hunters out there, all with ATVs. All the ATVs had gun racks on them. Here's what the highway looked like:





and here's Denali (or lack thereof) in the distance:






I'm glad I took the Denali Highway because otherwise I'd always wonder what it would have been like to drive it. I'm not glad I took it because 15mph of nonstop swerving to avoid enormous potholes in favor of merely large ones for 160+ miles kinda sucks.

It also didn't help that the one real restaurant on the highway was closed when I got there, so no rhubarb pie for me.
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Old 02-19-2014, 12:14 AM   #183
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

I made it to Denali, but it was super overcast and there were no good photo ops. I was literally driving right next to the mountain range and the only thing I could see were infinite clouds. I kind of wanted to stick around for another day or so to see if it cleared up, but my sister and her family were flying out of Anchorage that day after their own Alaska visit, and I've been to Denali before, so I hightailed it down there instead to say hello.






The airport had a great TSA warning sign:





That thing in the top center is an ulu. It's a traditional Alaskan knife. They are pretty great for slicing up vegetables, I use one all the time. Or I did, back when I didn't live out of a backpack.

I was originally going to stay at a campground that I found, but this changed my mind:





Well, that and having slept in the car 75% of the time for the last week. I found a little hotel and stayed there for a few days while I put the CRV up on craigslist. Don't worry, I washed it first:





It needed to go through that car wash twice, then another car wash twice, before it was remotely clean. Here it is between car washes:





I think that was after wash #2. I hand-scrubbed it as well.

It didn't take long to find a buyer. I put the craigslist ad up and had a half dozen replies within a few hours. I set up some meetings, and agreed to sell it to the first person that saw it for $1000 more than I had bought it for back in Miami. I could have gotten even more for it, but I didn't feel like sitting around in Anchorage trying to squeeze out another $500-$800 or whatever. I knew the CRV would sell very fast because I had it at a very competitive price and other than me, it was a 1 owner vehicle, and lived in Florida its entire life, so no rust. The initial owner had also had it serviced only at a dealer, so all the records showed up in a Carfax, which I also made available. Piece of cake to sell instantly. Lots of disappointed people when I call/texted them back to let them know it was gone.

I was kind of surprised that the buyer didn't want to have a mechanic check it out prior to sale, she just had her husband drive it with her, and they decided I was too honest to need to go to a mechanic. I recommended that they take it to a mechanic regardless for peace of mind, but they refused. No worries, it was in great condition. I was super detailed about everything and people tend to automatically trust me for whatever reason, so I guess I can understand why they skipped the mechanic, but I would definitely never buy a vehicle without having a mechanic check it out, no matter how honest I thought the seller was. Especially if it had just come off a cross continent drive including the Dalton, which I was completely upfront about. I checked in with her a month later, which she really appreciated, and she said everything was great.

I miss that CRV, it was a great little vehicle, and it treated me well.

One of the sale conditions I made was that the buyer drop me off at the airport. We went to the bank in the morning to complete the transaction, then she dropped me off at the airport. I used the airport wifi to buy a one way ticket to Kauai, departing 12 hours later. Then I hung out and watched these folks argue with anyone who sat near them for the next few hours:





I have no idea why. Pretty sweet headband though, right?


Eventually the flight took off, and after a layover in SFO where the flight to Kauai was delayed by about 2 hours (got a $10 meal voucher and a $100 flight credit voucher without even asking, thanks United!), we were in the air.

Some hours later...





Well that don't look like Alaska, now does it?


50 states visited - Achievement Unlocked!
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Old 02-19-2014, 12:26 AM   #184
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

Awesome TR. Looking forward for it turning into a Vegas TR with some degen.

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Old 02-19-2014, 12:46 AM   #185
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

Let me get through Kauai and what I didn't already cover in the Dominican Republic -> Puerto Rico -> St Thomas sailing passage first... but yeah, Vegas is coming up. I'm not much of a degen, though.





OK, maybe a little.


I'm playing slot machines in Las Vegas, what the hell is going on? Why don't I just actually set my money on fire?


The crow doesn't pay much but he's definitely my favorite.

3 for 3 in Walking Dead slot machine sessions, currently up $463 lifetime. let us go go go go!
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Old 02-22-2014, 12:37 AM   #186
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

Whoa, did you get a screaming deal on the CRV when you bought it? Or are CRV-type vehicles just worth more in Alaska?
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Old 02-22-2014, 03:18 AM   #187
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

They are just worth more in Alaska. Especially 1-owner (effectively), all records kept, dealer serviced, only lived in Florida CRVs. One of the requirements for my purchase was that it be 4WD/AWD for resale value. I was originally looking for a Toyota 4Runner, but there were about zero 4WD 4Runners in southern Florida. Lots of the 2WD version.
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Old 02-22-2014, 07:44 PM   #188
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

You were probably better off. Doubtful a 4wd 4-runner would have gotten the same gas mileage as you did. They suck gas pretty hard.
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Old 02-22-2014, 07:46 PM   #189
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

Finally read this thread, very awesome adventure.
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Old 02-23-2014, 12:11 AM   #190
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

Excellent updates, keep em comin
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Old 02-23-2014, 05:33 AM   #191
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

OK, I take back the "I am not a degen" thing completely. I went from being up $463 lifetime in Walking Dead Slot Machine to being up $1. I just sat there and spewed well beyond my $100 WDSM buyin last night.

The rule was play 1/3NL, and after doubling up, the next $100 is for WDSM. I adhered to that rule for one session, then on the second session I just sat there making excuses for feeding $100 bills into the machine. I stopped at $462 (gotta guarantee a lifetime win, after all), and it all went the way of the dodo. ****ing Lori and her loriface.

You'd think I could have at least picked something with a <5% house edge to degen, right?

Did *not* go to the WDSM after being up $400 tonight, just left. I figure I'm already in the hole for 3.62 WDSM buyins at this point, gotta earn my way out before any more degening.

Now 2.62 WDSM buyins in the hole.

On the plus side, Las Vegas Donut House was open when I got back to the hotel, and I now have in my possession a french cruller with maple icing. Yes, it's as good as you imagine. Maybe slightly better. It's what rivering a full house against two made flushes feels like. Yeah, I did that tonight, too.





Yeah, I took a bite. Couldn't wait, that thing is ****ing delicious.


Let us go go go!

Last edited by chopstick; 02-23-2014 at 05:42 AM.
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Old 02-23-2014, 10:06 AM   #192
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

were the funkily dressed old couple at the airport Russian by any chance?

Great thread, thanks!
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Old 02-23-2014, 04:44 PM   #193
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

Pretty sure there is no way they were anything but Russian.
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Old 02-23-2014, 10:37 PM   #194
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

chopstick,

Once again, thanks for the effort you're putting in with these trip reports. Very much enjoying it.

Dalton/Prudhoe brings back memories from the trip I took up there (although with a tour company, I didn't go it alone). There were a couple of young guys who got down to their underwear, ran out there, and submerged the day I went to the Arctic Ocean. I was pretty much uncontrollably shivering just from wading in about as far as you did, I don't know how they did it.

Also the national for was something I hadn't thought about for a very long time.

Too bad you didn't get to see more wildlife. Maybe it's not the time of year; I was up there in July and saw plenty of caribou and a few dall sheep (but no musk ox, rats).

Thanks again for sharing.
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Old 03-10-2014, 02:09 AM   #195
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

Glad you guys are still enjoying this. Let's see if we can catch up a little faster. I was planning on doing these posts live from Vegas but I haven't even really started Hawaii yet.

Vegas is great, btw. I went to the National Atomic Testing Museum yesterday. Pretty cool if you have any interest in the era or in nuclear science. Definitely worth the admission price, though I probably could have skipped the Area 51 exhibit.

I'm still only goofing around with poker, playing less than twice a week, usually Fri/Sat evenings at the Bellagio. 0 for 5 in tournaments, but 10 for 13 in 1/3NLHE.


But who cares about poker when there is Kauai to look at. I shrunk the size of the photos a little more because the other pages take forever to load. Hopefully these will load faster.

Originally I had defaulted to going to Maui, but everyone I spoke with who had been to Kauai and Maui said I'd prefer Kauai. Kauai is called the Garden Island, and is known for its lush foliage and significantly lower tourist activity. There is very little nightlife and no cities to speak of. Just towns and villages. Much greater focus on outdoors activities than the more popular islands. Exactly what I preferred.

My thought was that I'd go to Kauai for a couple of weeks, then head over to Maui. I ended up loving Kauai and just staying there the entire time.





Well, thanks, Kauai! Glad to be here!






One of the first thing I noticed about Kauai was the pairing of cows and egrets. I wasn't expecting to see cows, but wasn't really surprised. Same for egrets. What I was surprised by was that wherever I saw a cow, there was an egret hanging out next to it. Always one egret per cow. I have no idea why. I guess maybe they were cattle egrets? I noticed this phenomena dozens of times, and there aren't that many cows on the island so I'm pretty confident this was pretty much universal.





Kauai is not a very big place. It's about 550 square miles. I traveled around pretty much every major area of the island. One of the first things I did was drive up into the "mountains" on the east side of the island. Everything was supergreen and lush, but especially here. There were lots of pastures and little houses like this. Lots of horses, too. I was pretty surprised by all the horses I saw.





This is the coastline near Kapa'a, which is the biggest town on Kauai. Coming from the Caribbean, this water was significantly rougher than I was used to seeing. I guess that's why surfing is so popular in Hawaii and not so much on St Thomas.





This is a pretty standard road. Somewhat worn, but in decent condition. Infinite green stuff everywhere you look, and little mountains covered in verdant green right in front of you. I got used to this sight quickly, but never stopped enjoying it. There's something about how the foliage covers these jagged little mountains that makes them really sweet to look at.






I never actually saw a monk seal, but I was assured that they exist. Saw a ton of enormous sea turtles, though.





Agriculture is very important to the island and has a long history. There is a lot of focus on the importance of sustainable use of resources, which gladdened my heart. This is another juxtaposition I never got tired of looking at - the little mountains with their little verdant valleys and small rivers irrigating crops. One of the things I didn't get around to doing was kayaking one of those rivers, but I'll be doing that for sure on the next trip.





For the most part, I stayed at places I found on VRBO or similar. I prefer staying at vacation rental properties over hotels because I don't care about things like daily maid service, room service, etc; and I do care about things like having a kitchen. VRBOs are generally less expensive though you need to commit to longer stays as a tradeoff. They are often much larger than hotel rooms if you need space, which I don't. This is a shot from the first place I stayed at in Kapa'a. It was about a 30 second walk to the beach.






There used to be a lot more biodiversity on Kauai, but you know how we humans do. LOL at blaming this on goats.






This as well as the last one were taken at the Limahuli Garden & Preserve, which is a nature preserve located on the north edge of the island. They have a great little path you follow and learn about the flora and fauna of the island. There is a focus on discussing the impact of invasive species and the history of the changes the island's f&f have gone through. I dig botanical gardens and nature preserves, so I enjoyed this.





The Na Pali coast is maybe the most famous part of Kauai. Lots of movies film scenes here. It's where the "welcome to the island" scene from Jurassic Park where they fly past enormous waterfalls in their helicopter was filmed. Stunning geography. To get here, you drive to the literal end of the road on the northwest side of the island, then get out and walk to the coastline.






Sunsets on the Na Pali coast are pretty amazing.






As evidenced by the small group here who showed up solely to photograph the sunset.


It's pretty sweet to be there and look west out over the ocean. There is literally nothing but ocean for like 5,000 miles until you get to Taiwan.
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Old 03-10-2014, 09:29 PM   #196
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

Another thing that I wasn't expecting and was pleasantly surprised by was all of the tropical flowers that grow pretty much everywhere. I'd be walking down the street, and see stuff like this:





which I guess makes sense given the location, but I hadn't been expecting it. It's nice to see exotic flowers all over the place wherever you go.

It's also nice to have beach access wherever you go:





which isn't always the case near beaches. I feel pretty strongly that beaches should rarely if ever be private property, so I'm always glad to see lots of beach access routes on islands.


The fire hydrants on Kauai were unlike any I've seen:





No clue why. Geographical differences of form in functional stuff always interests me.


I happened to be on Kauai during a protest rally. There are a lot of multinational agribusinesses that have presence on Kauai. They have test farms there because they can get lots of growing seasons in a short amount of time due to the weather and climate. This has caused some friction with the locals, as there are a lot of unknown chemicals tested on crops. Bad stuff started showing up in the water supply and a disclosure bill was introduced to the local legislature. It was of course immediately fought by the big agribusinesses. The locals met the opposition with a protest:





and there were a lot of interesting folks and messages:





the bill eventually passed, but I think it's being challenged again. The goal of the bill is to force disclosure of what chemicals are being used, and to create safe zones around schools. Tough to argue against that. I think 25% of the island showed up for this protest. It started at a park and ended at city hall, with the protesters surrounding city hall and holding hands.


Probably the second most interesting mega landscape feature on Kauai after the Na Pali coast is the Waimea Canyon. It's about ten miles long and 3,000 feet deep. Considering how small the island is, it takes up a good chunk of it. Here's the entrance:





and here's one of a zillion photographs I took driving along the side of it:





I like that you can see the ocean in the distance. There are lots of little trails at various points that you can get out and hike. I did a few, which is where that photo came from.

There are a bunch of lookouts all along the canyon, but the best by far is the one at the very end. It's Pu'u O Kila lookout, and if you ever go to Kauai, you absolutely must go to this place.





This lookout allows you an incredible view of the Kalalau Valley on the northwest corner of the island:





There's a path that leads to a few trails deeper in. I walked a little bit down it to show some perspective for the landscape:






The top of that incline is where I took the following photos from.

This place is also home to Wai'ale'ale which is considered one of the wettest spots on earth:





It averages more than 452in of rain every year. It rained 4 separate times in the 90 minutes or so that I was there. Having been living in the Caribbean, I'm now used to quick light rains, so it didn't phase me.

The great thing about all that rain is the rainbows:














They kept waxing and waning depending on the recency of the last shower, but they were a pretty constant fixture. It's rare enough to see a double rainbow, but to see double rainbows for that long, and at that vibrancy was awesome. The photos don't do them justice. I didn't mind just standing there getting repeatedly rained on because it was such a powerful experience.

If I had to pick one place on Kauai as a must visit, it would be this lookout. Even over the Na Pali coast. You do have to be careful, as there is no fence after a certain point and you are basically standing on the edge of a cliff. It's worth it.


Here are a bunch more photos of Waimea Canyon and the area around it. Not mine, but they are great photos that give a solid idea of what it's like to visit the canyon.
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Old 03-11-2014, 03:02 AM   #197
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

Great thread chopstick! I look forward to more updates!
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Old 03-11-2014, 06:50 AM   #198
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

I'm surprised you didn't mention the chickens on Kauai. They are everywhere and insist on getting up early.
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Old 03-11-2014, 07:57 PM   #199
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shoe View Post
Great thread chopstick! I look forward to more updates!
Thanks, glad you are enjoying it. More updates coming. Trying to catch up to the present before I leave Vegas for St Thomas again in a week or so.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Didace View Post
I'm surprised you didn't mention the chickens on Kauai. They are everywhere and insist on getting up early.

Funny you should say that given the next photo in line:




Yes, they are indeed everywhere, and they are up at all times of the day and night. I'm kind of used to this as it's the same way in St Thomas and was similar in the Dominican Republic. Tons of feral chickens and cats everywhere. They were most annoying on St Thomas because there was this one rooster that I swear would only crow from directly under my bedroom window, usually at 4:30 in the morning. I entertained a lot of murderous thoughts toward that rooster.

Kauai had a bunch of feral chickens, a few feral cats, and no feral dogs that I saw. It was also the only place with official signs referencing them:





That was taken near Spouting Horn, a popular tourist destination on the south coast where waves crash into and under a lava bed and then shoot up into the sky. I was more interested in watching the nearby turtles swimming around.

Because of the changes in elevation, there were a lot of good photo ops of the coastline and ocean. This is coming out of Waimea Canyon:






I like seeing how daily life is different for specific areas. One of the big differences I saw in Kauai vs the mainland was the price of gas. Not surprising considering they are an island in the middle of the ocean. The usual gas price I saw was $4.79/gal. This was the cheapest:






Another local thing:





Winners, not wieners.

and speaking of food, how would you like to buy tuna steaks for $7.99/lb?






One day I decided to head over to Polihale Beach on the west side of the island. I was staying down on the southwestern coast in the small town of Kekaha via an AirBNB find, so was pretty close.

There aren't many roads around there, so I just kind of drove around exploring for a bit beforehand. One detour led me here:





which eventually led to here:





at which point I turned around. I think that's some kind of ammunition dump/storage for the Pacific Missile Range Facility, which is the only thing nearby.


The road to Polihale Beach is in poor condition. I had a 2WD rental and everything I read about the road said you needed a 4WD to attempt it. Having just come off the Dalton and the Denali highways, I was not really afraid of any road condition warnings, so I ignored them:






The warnings were all bunk. I maintained a slow speed and paid close attention to the road, and made it to the beach park just fine:





That tree was even bigger than it looks.

The beach itself was pretty much deserted. It stretches on for a few miles in either direction, and I think there were about a half dozen or so people total. Here's looking south:





and here's looking north:





Those waves are no joke. This is considered a "wild" beach, and there's really only one safe swimming spot. I saw one person surfing, the other people pretty much just hung out on the shore.


Not too far out of Polihale is an official drag racing strip:





Can't say I've ever seen a state-approved drag racing strip before. It was empty that day, but next time I'm in Kauai, I'll be attending a race.

Another thing I hadn't seen before was this candy:





I love that they have the little congratulations stickers in the box.


I also went by the "western-most independent bookstore of the United States" in Hanapepe, though I did not go inside as I was starving and only cared about finding food right then:


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Old 03-13-2014, 10:25 PM   #200
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

I blanked my cache to see how long it takes these pages to load, and it's still forever. I'm going to use less photos per post to help control that.

If you've been paying attention to my photos, you know I enjoy taking photos of signs that amuse me. Here's one along the south shore of the island I found particularly amusing:





They weren't kidding, either. It was a jagged rock face about 30 feet down to the ocean. Tough to get a good shot of it because of all the vegetation, you'll just have to trust me. I took that one down near the Salt Pond Park near Hanapepe.


There is surfing all over the island. Less on the west side, and more on the north side, but pretty much all over the island. This was in the middle of a weekday near Kapa'a, just someone out there chilling and catching a wave:






One of the most popular tourist spots on Kauai is a place called Queen's Bath. It's a small tidepool on the north side of the island near Princeville. You need to drive into a small housing development, then get lucky with one of the 6 or so available parking spaces, then hike a nice little rooty muddy trail for a few minutes to get to it. The trail is not in good condition.





People die there:





but not enough to deter people from making the trek. Here's the actual Bath, looking westward:





It's a pretty cool little spot, but I'd say it's also overrated. Worth going to if you are on Kauai, but moreso for the turtle watching than the Bath itself.

Speaking of turtles..
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