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Posts from the ‘Hawaii’ category

Our Hawaiian Vacation: From Hawaii to Pennsylvania

I got up around 6:00 am on September 11th (Tuesday) and began to gather up our belongings to pack for the return trip home.

The temperature was 71F at 7:10 am and calm. It was sunny and quite clear too. As I looked down on Kona Airport, I could see a prominent dividing line between the land, ocean and sky. There are clouds in the sky. It doesn’t look like there is a tropical storm (Olivia) nearby.  It must have been raining somewhere because there was a faint rainbow over the ocean.


I am really going to miss this view!

Dorothy prepared a lovely dinner for us.  All of the meals that Dorothy prepared, while we were in Hawaii, were delicious.  Our last dinner there, though, was special.  Dinner was stuffed noodles and black bottom pie. Bob asked whose birthday it was. His mother made this meal for birthdays.

By 6:15 pm we were at Kona Airport and through security, waiting at gate 2.

We had not seen any nasty weather from Tropical Storm Olivia. I did hear an airline attendant make a remark about the wind, though, at Kona Airport. It was a bit windy, as we were lining up to get on the airplane. She said there is usually no wind, when the sun goes down. The existence of wind at the airport at that time was unusual.

We were seated on the airplane at 7:26 pm and departed the airport at 8:00 pm.

I slept some during the flight to Denver. I needed more sleep, though, as I had a headache as we were coming in for a landing. We arrived in Denver at 6:07 am local time on September 12th (Wednesday).

We were sitting at our gate at 7:17 am, waiting for our departure time. Our airplane was scheduled to depart, en route Pittsburgh, at 9:52 am.  It was nice not to have to rush at this airport like we did on August 31st, when we arrived from Pittsburgh. We had time to enjoy a leisurely breakfast at an airport cafe.

We were seated on the airplane at 9:30 am.  We departed the gate at 9:48 am.  At 10:44 am we had not yet reached the runway!  The United Airbus is susceptible to hot brakes. We did a lot of stopping and starting, while taxiing to the runway.  The pilot announced that we would not be able to take off until the brakes had cooled down.

We finally departed Denver Airport at 11:19 am.  We arrived at Pittsburgh Airport at 3:50 pm local time, an hour late.  My first thought, as we landed, was about the brakes.  I hoped the brakes that had overheated while taxiing to the runway in Denver would stop the airplane!

We retrieved our checked bag from baggage claim.  Then we telephoned Marriott shuttle service for pick up and delivery to car.

We returned home at 8:15 pm, making only one stop along the way.  We stopped for a quick bite at Burger King in Barkeysville, PA.  By the time we returned home, we had been awake (for the most part) for about 32 hours. We were both exhausted. I went to bed soon after returning home. Bob followed about an hour later.

We had a most wonderful vacation and loved spending time with Bob’s brother and our sister-in-law, but it is good to be home.  Thank you, Dorothy and John, for EVERYTHING.



Our Hawaiian Vacation: A Cave and Two Parks

On Monday, September 10th, issued the following warning:

“a Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for Big Island interior, Big Island north and east, Big Island summits, Haleakala Summit, Kahoolawe, kohala, Kona, Lanai makai, Lanai Mauka, leeward Haleakala, Maui Central Valley, Maui leeward west, Maui windward west, Molokai leeward, Molokai windward, south Big Island, and windward Haleakala… Olivia … is forecast to close in on the main Hawaiian islands Tuesday and move over portions of the island chain Tuesday night and Wednesday. Maui and The Big Island will be the first to experience impacts from Olivia. Do not focus on the exact forecast track or intensity of Olivia and be prepared for changes in future forecasts. Also, keep in mind that just because Olivia is forecast to be a weaker storm than Lane, the impacts could be significantly worse. Damaging tropical storm force winds may begin as early as Tuesday afternoon across Maui and The Big Island. Additionally, hurricane force wind gusts are possible as Olivia moves across the state Tuesday night and Wednesday.”

We wondered if Tropical Storm Olivia would affect our plans for air travel back home the next evening.  We hoped not but, honestly, if our travel plans were to become disrupted where better to be stranded than in Hawaii!

We took John and Dorothy’s Mustang Convertible for a ride in the morning. Bob and I sat in the front seats (Bob driving), and Dorothy sat in the rear seat.

_LG28374Bob driving the Mustang Convertible

Our first stop was at a cave along Highway 19, a short distance from the Kona Airport.

_LG28322The cave was part of a large lava tube from the Hualalai lava flow of 1801.
The cave is collapsing in several spots and looked rickety and unstable.
If you look closely, there are a couple people inside the cave.

Our second stop was at the beach at Kekaha Kai State Park. The state park is located about 12 miles north of Kona. We drove to Kekaha Kai State Park on September 1st. There was no parking near the beach. We parked up the road a bit that day and took a picture of the beach from our lofty position. This morning we found nearby parking and walked down to the beach.

_LG28325We passed by Pu’u Ku’ili, a 342-foot high old cinder cone, on the way to the beach.

_LG28345Kekaha Kai State Park

_LG28334Dorothy went for a quick swim, while Bob got his feet wet from the incoming surf.

_LG28338What a pretty beach!

_LG28342This man had an underwater camera and was photographing the waves.

I got my feet wet, too, from the incoming surf.
I had to hold onto Bob to keep my balance,
as vertigo affects me when the surf goes back out.

Our third and final stop was at Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park, located along Highway 19 in Kona.  We had visited this park the previous day, but only the beach area.

_LG28347Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park Visitor Center

After stamping our National Park Service Passport at the Visitor Center, we hopped back in the car and drove to another park access road to go see Kaloko Kuapa –the largest fishpond wall in Hawaii.

_LG28350The speed limit on the access road was 5 mph.  I don’t believe we exceeded the speed limit!

The last 1/4 mile stretch of road was very rough.  Bob did well, driving very slowly, avoiding the high and low parts of the road.

_LG28368The Kaloko Kuapa is the wall on the right side of this picture.

I walked on the Kaloko Kuapa.

_LG28352Walking toward the Kaloko Kuapa
The Kaloko Kuapa is over 800 feet in length and 40 feet wide.

_LG28356Kaloko Fishpond is on the right side of the wall.

_LG28358This is the view on the left side of the wall.

The stones of the Kaloko Kuapa are dry stacked without the use of mortar.  The stones are not even, and they rock a bit when walking on them.  I stayed in the middle of the wall, when I walked across it.

As we were making our way back to the main highway, we chanced upon two Gray Francolins.

_LG28371Gray Francolins

I captured a short video of Bob driving the Mustang, once we were on the highway again.

I had never been in a convertible with Bob before.  I enjoyed the drive!

Back at the house we were visited by turkeys again.

One of several turkeys that visited in the afternoon.

Late in the afternoon the four of us went to downtown Kona for liquid refreshments at Humpy’s and dinner, afterward, at Foster’s Kitchen.

Our Hawaiian Vacation: A Relaxing Day in Kona

Sunday morning, September 9th, found Bob and I at the Kona Inn Shopping Village once again.

Kona Inn Shopping Village

We arrived at the shopping village before the stores were open.  That was the plan.  The only reason we drove to downtown Kona again was so that I could take a few more pictures.

_LG28244Gray Cat at Kona Inn Shopping Village

I took several pictures of the cat, but I am sharing only two with you.

_LG28263Big Yawn From Being Tired of All the Pictures
“Go away, leave me alone.”
I caught the cat mid yawn.

I spent several minutes watching wave after wave roll in at Kailua Bay.

MVIMG_20180909_084438Bob took this picture of me on the seawall watching the waves roll in.

_LG28277One of the waves

I watched several crabs crawling all over the rocks that kept getting washed over by the surf.

_LG28286Hawaiian Crab

We decided it was time to go, when we saw chairs being placed in the lawn for the morning church service.  What a view, though, for a church service!

If you have read my blog posts from the beginning about our Hawaiian vacation, you will recall that several days ago a pair of Kalij Pheasants visited John and Dorothy’s yard.

_LG27668I captured a photograph of the Female Kalij Pheasant at that time.

Around noon on September 9th the pair made a return visit.  I captured a photograph of the Male Kalij Pheasant.

_LG28296Male Kalij Pheasant

Don’t the two Kalij Pheasants make a cute couple?

We relaxed at home until around 4:00 pm, at which time Dorothy, John, Bob and I went to Honokohau Harbor in Kona.

John has a fishing boat that is approximately 25 feet long.

John’s Fishing Boat is the one in the middle.
I received this picture from Dorothy, after we had returned home from Hawaii.

John launches his boat from Honokohau Harbor.  He had planned to take us all out on the boat for a fishing trip.  That plan didn’t materialize for a couple reasons.  John had taken the boat out of the water before Hurricane Lane blew over the Island of Hawaii.  He had not put the boat back in the water by the time we arrived.  John would have put the boat back in the water; however, he wasn’t feeling 100% during our visit.  Before our arrival one of John’s toes got infected, and he was prescribed an antibiotic.  The antibiotic caused an upset stomach.  John missed out on a few of our sightseeing jaunts because he wasn’t feeling well.

We went to Honokohau Harbor to go to the Harbor House Restaurant, where we enjoyed cold beverages and snacks (French fries, onion rings and cheese poppers).

_LG28300Honokohau Harbor, as seen from inside the Harbor House Restaurant.

We learned during our first trip to Hawaii that you come to this restaurant for a schooner.

_LG28301The Harbor House Restaurant serves its beer in thick, 18-ounce chilled glasses called schooners.

_LG28302Honokohau Harbor
Do you see the storage sheds along the stone wall?
This is where John will put the storage shed he purchased the previous day.
John’s boat slip is somewhere in front of that wall.

After we had enjoyed our refreshments, Dorothy and I walked to the Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park beach. John and Bob stayed at Harbor House Restaurant for another round.

We were still on the harbor grounds, when we saw a chicken.

I like the green color on the chicken’s wings.

_LG28306Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park beach

Dorothy had hoped to show me green sea turtles. The tide was in higher than she had ever seen.  We didn’t see any turtles.

We turned around and walked back to the Harbor House Restaurant.

_LG28309Another photograph of Honokohau Harbor

We collected the boys at the restaurant and returned home.

At sunset we watched as the sun slipped into the ocean.

LJG28310Sunday’s Sunset

LJG28311A truly wonderful way to end a day!


Our Hawaiian Vacation: Two Resorts and a Storage Shed

I awakened at 6:00 am on Saturday, September 8th.  As usual, Bob was already up. I suspect he had been up for at least an hour. He was watching a video about ukuleles on his computer. It was a relaxing morning.  We didn’t leave the house until around 10:00 am, when we left en route Mauna Lani Resort located on the Kohala Coast.

We had visited Mauna Lani Resort 2 days prior, when we attended a Polynesian Hulu Show at the Shops at Mauna Lani.  Our return trip to Mauna Lani Resort was to attend the second annual Hawaii Island Steel Guitar Festival, which was held at the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel.

The Hawaii Island Steel Guitar Festival features steel guitar performances by Hawaii steel guitar masters, workshops, jam sessions where festival guests play along with the steel guitar masters, and Open Stage sessions where amateur and professional Hawaiian Steel Guitarists present their own program to festival guests.  We attended the festival while Open Stage sessions were in progress.  The steel guitarists performed on a stage in a ballroom.  There was also a vintage steel guitar exhibit on tables at the back of the ballroom.  We listened to the Open Stage sessions for about an hour.

I wasn’t inspired to take any photographs (or videos), while at the Steel Guitar Festival.  I did, however, take a few snapshots on the hotel grounds.

20180908_224407588_iOSWe could see the Island of Maui from the beach area of Mauna Lani Bay Hotel.

20180908_224449628_iOSPart of the Kohala Coast was also visible from the beach.

20180908_225437462_iOSBob and his brother, John, at Mauna Lani Bay Hotel
See the resemblance? 🙂

Leaving Mauna Lani Resort, we drove about 4 miles south to Waikoloa Beach Resort.  We visited this resort a couple days ago as well.  We ate fish and chips in the King’s Shops, after watching the hulu show.  On this visit we went to Queens’ MarketPlace, where we enjoyed a snack at Dairy Queen and Subway.  Bob and I had ice cream sundaes and pretzels from Dairy Queen; Dorothy had a Dairy Queen Blizzard; and John had a Subway sandwich and a Dairy Queen Buster Bar.  When Dorothy and I finished our snack, we went outside the food court, to the heart of Queens’ MarketPlace, and found Hawaii Fest in progress.

20180908_235142755_iOSQueens’ MarketPlace
Coronation Pavilion

Hawaii Fest featured unique art and handcrafts, Hawaiian music, and Hawaiian cultural demonstrations.

Around 3:00 PM we drove to Lowe’s Home Improvement store in Kona and picked up a storage shed.

20180908_004856847_iOSWe were able to transport the shed, as it was not assembled.
It was a very close fit, though!
Dorothy is sitting on the other side of the box, equally squished.

From Lowe’s we returned home, where we spent rest of the day.

The highlight of our evening was looking at John and Dorothy’s vacation photographs from their recent trip to New Orleans, England, Taiwan and more.

By the way, this was our third day of very hot and humid weather.  The high temperature on Thursday was 91F, with a heat index of 103F; the high temperature on Friday was 89F, with a heat index of 98F; and the high temperature on Saturday was 89F, with a heat index of 101F.  The air conditioning in the car was not working, and John and Dorothy’s house has no air conditioning.  Thank goodness it did cool off each evening and was cool, when we awakened each morning!


Our Hawaiian Vacation: Ukulele Shopping

Bob enjoys music — listening to music, as well as playing musical instruments.  He owns several musical instruments to include a 6 String Dobro, (2) 6 string acoustic guitars, a 6 string electric guitar, an Acoustic concert ukulele, a Mandolin, a 5 string banjo, a Didgeridoo, a Brazilian lap harp, a Bamboo Jaw harp, a Casio electronic keyboard, a Yamaha Organ and (2) harmonicas.

Bob’s newest musical instrument was the Acoustic concert ukulele, which he purchased in December 2016.  For the past year he has been considering the purchase of an Acoustic / electric tenor ukulele.  He wanted to have the  capability to record through a cable instead of an open microphone to avoid background noise.

What better place to shop for a ukulele than in Hawaii!

On Wednesday, when we visited downtown Kona, Bob saw an Acoustic / electric tenor ukulele that interested him.  That ukulele was on display at Just Ukes, located in the Kona Inn Shopping Village.  Bob didn’t purchase that ukulele, opting instead to look around.

We spent several hours ukulele shopping during the late morning / early afternoon on Friday, September 7th.

On our way back to Kona from Honaunau, we stopped at Kiernan Music in Kealakekua.  Bob picked up quality information from the salesman but did not purchase a ukulele.  He still favored the ukulele on display at Just Ukes.

We drove to downtown Kona. We stopped for cold beverages at Kona Inn, located in the Kona Inn Shopping Village.

_LG28227Our view from Kona Inn.

I had finished the glass of water that was my preferred beverage that day.  While Bob and Dorothy were still drinking their beverages I walked down to the seawall seen from where we sat in Kona Inn.

_LG28231I passed by a pretty yellow Hibiscus on my way to the seawall.

_LG28232At the seawall I watched for a few minutes, as wave after wave rolled in.

From Kona Inn we walked to Just Ukes. The ukulele that Bob had liked when he saw it earlier in the week had sold.

The Just Ukes salesman sent us to another ukulele shop a couple blocks away. We walked to that ukulele shop (Hawaiian Ukulele & Guitar) and found it under a tent, being fumigated.  Fumigated for what we didn’t know.

As we were passing by Just Ukes again, the salesman made another suggestion — Music Exchange, located in the King Kam Strip Mall off of Kuakini Highway. We drove there. After about 45 minutes Bob walked out with a new Acoustic / electric tenor ukulele. We had a most entertaining shopping experience at Music Exchange.  The salesman (Gavin Todd) and his friend (Royce DeSilva) joked around, while Gavin showed Bob various ukuleles. Gavin was very knowledgeable about ukuleles. He was a pleasant person to do business with.

Royce DeSilva, we learned, is the Hawaiian Idol XV Champion.

I found a live video of Royce’s performance that won him the championship.  Royce’s performance begins at time marker 2:32:42.  At time marker 3:44:19 Royce is selected as one of five contestants moving into the finals.

The five contestants performed a second time.  Click here for Royce’s second performance.  His performance starts at the beginning of the video and ends at time marker 4:15.  Royce is chosen as the Hawaiian Idol XV Champion at time marker 37:39 and follows up with one additional song.

Getting back to Bob and his new ukulele … Bob is happy to own a ukulele that he purchased in Hawaii.  I will close this blog post with a short video of Bob playing his new ukulele.


Our Hawaiian Vacation: Sightseeing Along the Southern Kona Coast

Breakfast was the first order of the day on Friday, September 7th.

Dorothy, Bob and I ate breakfast at Splasher’s Grill in downtown Kona.

20180907_182059304_iOSThe three of us at Splasher’s Grill

20180907_182917332_iOSThis was my breakfast. It tasted as good as it looks!

After breakfast we went for a drive along the southern Kona Coast.

Our first stop was at Kealakekua Bay State Historical Park, from where we could see the Captain Cook Monument way across the Kealakekua Bay.

_LG28189Captain Cook Monument

It was near this spot in 1779 that Captain James Cook was killed by the Hawaiians. If interested in reading about the life and death of Captain Cook you may do so by clicking here.

Our second stop was at the Pu’uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park.  Pu’uhonua o Honaunau, or Place of Refuge at Honaunau as it is translated, preserves the site where Hawaiians who broke a kapu (one of the ancient laws) could avoid certain death by fleeing to this sanctuary. The offender would perform a ritual, be absolved by a priest and freed to leave. Defeated warriors and non-combatants could also find refuge here during times of battle.

_LG28198Hale o Keawe

This Heiau (temple) was originally built by a Kona chief named Kanuha. After the death of Keawe, a great chief of Kona in the mid 16th century, his bones were entombed within the temple. The ali’i (nobility) of Kona continued to be buried here for 250 years.

_LG28195Three Young Men Playing Konane (Hawaiian Checkers)

There were several Ki’i (wooden images) throughout the park.  I will share a few of them with you.

a tall Ki’i

_LG28197a Ki’i looks out to sea

20180907_101825Dorothy took a picture of Bob and me with two Ki’i that guard the Hale o Keawe.

Here is one last photograph from Pu’uhonua O Honaunau National Historic Park.

_LG28206An expansive view of the park grounds


Our third, and final, sightseeing stop of the day was at St. Benedict’s Catholic Church, also located in Honaunau.

_LG28221The exterior of the church is noted for the belfry and the lattice work entry.

_LG28219St. Benedict’s Catholic Church Cemetery

St. Benedict’s Catholic Church, which was built in 1899 by Father John Velghe, is commonly called “the Painted Church”.

_LG28218Father Velghe painted the interior of the church.
He had no professional training as an artist.

Leaving Honaunau, we made our way back to John and Dorothy’s home in Kona.  We returned home around 3:00 pm.  Between the time we left Honaunau and arrived home, though, we did some shopping.  There is a story to tell about our afternoon, and I will save it for another blog post.

Our Hawaiian Vacation: Polynesian Hula Show

This blog post is about activities on Thursday, September 6th.

From Waimea we drove to the Mauna Lani Resort, along the Kohala Coast, where we attended a free Polynesian Hula show at the Shops at Mauna Lani. Dancers (male and female) performed a series of acts in colorful costumes on a stage set above a water fountain. Live music accompanied the dancers. A female narrator shared with us stories of their ancestors, the natives of Hawaii.  The show culminated in a fire dance performed by a young boy.

Here is a slideshow of photographs that I took during the hula show.

After the Hula show we ate dinner in Waikoloa Beach Resort, which was located about 4 miles south of the Mauna Lani Resort.  There are two shopping areas at Waikoloa Beach Resort: Queens’ MarketPlace and Kings’ Shops.  We had fish and chips at the Island Fish and Chips, located at Kings’ Shops.

This completes the activities of Thursday, September 6th — our fifth full day in Hawaii.

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