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Old 02-16-2018, 11:29 PM   #151
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Re: golddog runs around

Waimea rain turned into a cold. It's not terrible, but I'm not in the mood to write.

Quickly, got up, drove over Saddle Road (between Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa) down into Hilo. Once again, mostly rain. Close to town, there's a couple of nice spots for seeing waterfalls and caves, but mostly wanted to get checked in and lay down for a bit.

Tomorrow, the plane leaves late, so I'm planning to go down the SE coast for a ways, then back to airport to start heading home.
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Old 02-18-2018, 02:53 PM   #152
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Re: golddog runs around

Yesterday, went down toward Pahoa in the (of course) rain and checked out the SE coast.

After lunch, the clouds broke a little bit, and I went a ways north from Hilo. Really nice, lush tropical areas.

At DIA right now waiting the next bus out to suburbia. Pretty tired from not sleeping much on either flight, but I'll try to catch up on photos and details in the next few days.

Also quite bumpy on the descent into DIA. Seems like it's pretty much always rough. I assume the mountains mess up the air, but I don't know. Worse than usual, a couple really good jolts.
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Old 02-18-2018, 08:30 PM   #153
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So I left off near Captain Cook, at the Dragonfly Ranch.

That next day, I started north. Screwed around in Kona enough to find Kona brewing, thinking I'd take a tour, but no availability. Kept heading north, a little way out of town, I saw some people pulled off, investigating the lava field.



It was this pretty cool lava tube which was partially exposed, and partially collapsed, so cave like in some places, open in others.

I went back as far in the first section to where I didn't feel like scrambling.



then went back up and explored some of the open sections



So the weather started out nice, but as I went north, the rain kind of squalled up. Found this nice overlook at the end of the road.



and Koekea Beach a little way down the road



Rolled up to the northernmost point of the island, since I'd been on the southernmost the day before. It's a small airport right on the coast, it turns out.

Then headed up to Waimea. Not very far up the highway, the clouds rolled in, visibility limited. Appeared to be following a ridge going up the mountain through ranchland, but I couldn't see far enough to tell.

Went for a walk around the small town, this is where I got drenched and picked up the cold I currently have. Nothing to really report as far as I can tell, skip Waimea.
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Old 02-18-2018, 08:51 PM   #154
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So the next day, I wake up and go the the Hawaiian Style Cafe in Waimea on the recommendation of the park ranger I'd shared a house with down by Volcano (he's from there). Quite a good breakfast, although I was getting sort throat/not much appetite by then.

Drove over the Saddle Road toward Hilo. I'd heard/read not to take rental cars up there, I can't imagine why. It's a very good paved road, most of the way there are two lanes in both uphill directions to allow for slower vehicles.

Started out drab and cloudy, but got a little break as I rose. Mauna Loa made an appearance.



It wasn't too long a drive over the pass, so I drove around greater Hilo. Hawaii has these great state parks with a small area of a waterfall, or beach, or something, for free or a nominal fee. So first Rainbow Falls



Then up the river to the Boiling Pots.



Then went and explored Kaumana Caves a little bit.



Got checked into the rental, just down the road there was access to a small beach I wandered around. Still not feeling good, still raining, early end to my day.
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Old 02-18-2018, 09:16 PM   #155
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So I wake up in Hilo for my final day. The rental has a shared kitchen area, and they're nice enough to provide eggs and fruit and a few other things for a breakfast, if you want to make it.

Unfortunately, I can't figure out lighting the propane stove to scramble up some eggs. Never could find a lighter, nobody else is up, so I got breakfast elsewhere.

On this day, I decided to explore the SE coast. Once again, crappy rainy day. Went to Lava Tree State Park. When the lava rolls over the trees, it entombs them. But the trees burn up and rot away later, so you get these columns of lava maybe 6-10 feet high which are empty on the inside. A few had fallen over but stayed intact enough, you could imagine the tree trunk fitting right in there.

Anyway, this book I'd gotten recommended a scenic drive down here. Hawaii has a lot of these small roads out in the country which are quite scenic. This canopy went on for a few miles.



Drove down the road to where the lava flow cut off access (the non-park side of the lava flow at the end of Chain of Craters Road). Once again, rainy, feeling down, didn't seem to be much of a reason to hang around there.

Up to Pahoa for lunch, on the way back, the weather broke a little bit. Drove up the coast a little way from Hilo. While waiting at a stoplight, noticed this building on Hilo's main drag



Those are Trump/Pence signs below the windows whose glass is mostly missing, and the street-level storefront is empty. Also there seems to be mold growing down the from top.

Those of you who are politically inclined can make your own joke now.

The coast north of Hilo was really nice. Saw a sign for "Scenic Drive", and took it. It was. Unfortunately, being Saturday afternoon, everybody else was there. Not many places I could find to pull over and take pictures.

A nice four mile long stretch that wound through some forest. Here's a couple places I was able to get out





Continued up to Akaka Falls State Park. A nice little trail, maybe a mile or so long, with a bunch of plants and waterfalls here and there.





Continued up the coast a ways. There were lots of these canyons going back in from the road, or beaches to the east.











Time to head back to town and prepare for the return. Drove around trying to find dinner, finally went to a drive in (they seem to be popular) that I'd noticed the other day. It was terrible.

Went to a bar I'd noticed for one beer on the way out of town. Of course, they had some food, which would've been way better. Seemed to be my kind of place, a divey bar with regulars having some drinks.

On the Hilo-LAX flight, I got in a row with nobody in the middle. Despite the extra room, hardly slept at all. On the LAX-Denver flight I got some more sleep. The descent was rough, ad noted earlier, but the pilots were pros and got us down safely.

Back to suburbia, my neighbor came and got me from the bus, took a little snooze. Early to bed tonight, hopefully this breaks and I can start thinking about where life's going to take me next.
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Old 02-18-2018, 09:36 PM   #156
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So, a little review:

Hawaii's not a retirement place for me. I mostly enjoyed it, despite the weather, but nothing compelling that said, "I should live here". Where there are people, there are way too many packed in. Where there aren't, there's nothing to do. No middle ground.

Unless you're a beach-bro type, skip Waikiki. It's a nice beach and all, but very touristy. One of those things I'd heard about all my life, thought I should check it out.

I did talk to an officer near the beach. I saw Honolulu Police cars all over Oahu, apparently they're the force for the entire island. Totally failed to ask if he knew Dano.

The Pearl Harbor area really well done, worth going to if you have even the slightest interest. The displays in the museum were great.

The big island had lots to do, I just caught a bad break with the storms.

Hawai'l Volcanoes NP worth a couple days.

I really liked all these little state parks and beach accesses. I think I read somewhere that state law says all beaches are public. Not sure if that means sandy beaches for recreation, or might mean even cliff faces, but it seems like nobody truly has oceanfront property--they have property that abuts the public oceanfront.

That was great. I could pull off, watch the surfers/fishers/whatever for a bit, then poke along.

Heard on the news that somebody drowned (or nearly, depending what channel) in Shark's Cove across the street from where I stayed the first night. I didn't see waves like on the surfing posters, but all around the islands, surf was rough enough I'm glad I didn't bring a swimsuit. Just wading is enough for me.

The book I mentioned was from the "Revealed" series. This was recommended to me by an ex-co-worker who goes there a lot. I think there's one for each island here. Well-written, gives hints about things that don't seem common knowledge. Just puts out there things he liked, or didn't like--not trying to sell anyone on any particular thing. I recommend if anybody's going.

Hilo's kind of a dump. Just super meh.

Having been there once, it might be a good idea to check into camping. I'm not sure if these little beach parks allow it (the ones in town close overnight). Seems like most of Hawaii is either a resort complex, or a rental room/house like I mostly had.

Might be a better plan to pack a tent, find a cooler and some food upon arrival, and just camp, if weather allowed. Not that there was anything wrong with the places I stayed, just might be a nice alternative.
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Old 09-01-2018, 12:39 PM   #157
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Another update only because I'm traveling and this is my travel blog. At DIA heading up north for a few days to check on Mom. Probably won't be anything interesting enough to write about while I'm up there, but you never know.
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